With Sukkos approaching, access to Har Habayis once again became the focal point of angry debate between Jewish and Arab leaders, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.
Knesset Interior Committee chairwoman Miri Regev (Likud) said Monday at a meeting to discuss police restrictions on Jews wishing to enter the area:
“We will allow Jews to visit the Mount, and we don’t want to disturb Muslims who are praying. Why doesn’t the police decide that if Muslims don’t allow Jews to visit without disturbances, we’ll have days for Jews to access the Mount and days for Muslims?” Regev asked.
According to halachah, Jews are prohibited from entering the area.
MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) warned that any change in the status quo on Har Habayis will be seen as “a declaration of war” and trigger violence.
“You need to use your judgment and think about whether you want to spark a fire in the most sensitive place in the region. [Former prime minister] Ariel Sharon’s stupid surprise visit [in 2000] was enough to set off an Intifada,” he declared.
(In 2001, Palestinian Communications Minister Imad al-Faluji told the Lebanese newspaper Al-Safir that “whoever thinks the Intifada broke out because of the despised Sharon’s visit to al-Aqsa Mosque is wrong…This Intifada was planned in advance.”)
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beiteinu), who was disciplined by his party for his agitation to go up to Har Habayis, decided to “review some history” for the Arab MKs. “The First and Second Temples were on the Har Habayis for many years, when your ancestors were worshiping idols and the sun and the moon in Saudi Arabia or wherever.”
Feiglin also accused the police of “not knowing the facts” about the government policy on the Temple Mount, because Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino wrote in response to a letter from the MK that the Waqf, or Jordanian Islamic trust’s, controls the site as a result of a government decision made in 1968.
“Can the police show me the government decision? No. There never was one,” Feiglin stated. “The police is granting sovereignty over the Temple Mount to a body under Jordanian control without any government decision.”
Feiglin suggested that police close the site to Muslims during Sukkos so Jews can pray safely.
On Rosh Hashanah, police arrested five Muslim men for throwing rocks at Jews on the Temple Mount, he added.