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Temple Mount in Jerusalem
Photo: AFP
AG mulls barring Knesset members from Temple Mount
Following Shin Bet's recommendation, attorney general could move to restrict MKs access to flashpoint Jerusalem holy site.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein could bar Israeli members of Knesset and ministers from visiting the flashpoint Temple Mount, in cases in which the Shin Bet security service thinks their presence could incite riots.

 

 

Weinstein's announcement came after Israel's chief of police, Commissioner Yohanan Danino, slammed his decision to allow right-wing officials, including MK Moshe Feiglin, to visit the Temple Mount.

 

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein  (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein (Photo: Motti Kimchi)

 

"It was a mistake to allow him to visit the Temple Mount," Police Chief Danino said Tuesday. "We have seen and identified, since the last election, radical right-wing elements which have made a priority out of changing the status quo on the Temple Mount. To them we say – stay away from the Temple Mount."

  

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Regarding the move, senior legal officials who where privy to its details said that though lawmakers enjoy complete freedom of movement, it can be restricted should it pose a security threat – especially in such tense days – in which case security trumps politics.

 

The news came after weeks of unrest fuelled in part by a dispute over Jerusalem's holiest site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary – containing the al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest in Islam - and to Jews as the Temple Mount because the two Biblical temples once stood there.

 

Temple Mount (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Temple Mount (Photo: AFP)

 

The police commissioner emphasized his forces would follow the directive, but warned that radical right-wing elements were upsetting the balance in Jerusalem.

 

"It's clear that all the declarations to change the law and the status have no practical implications – but the very declaration sets off shockwaves in the Muslim world."

 

Rightist MK Fielglin at Temple Mount (Photo: AFP)
Rightist MK Fielglin at Temple Mount (Photo: AFP)

 

At the beginning of the month – as security concerns continued to mount – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on members of Knesset to work to calm tensions over the Temple Mount and demonstrate restraint and responsibility.

 

"We resist systemic, ongoing attempts at incitement by radical Islamists trying to set off a religious war in Jerusalem, and help light the entire Middle East," Netanyahu said at a cabinet session on the issue.

 

The following day – only a short while before Netanyahu's remarks were published – MK Feiglin visited the holy site and rejected the condemnations of his

 

Yaron Doron and Akiva Novik contributed to this report

 

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