Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel entered the Temple Mount with a cap adorned with an Israel flag on his head, and the Temple organizations are claiming a victory.
Attached to an email the Temple organizations sent to news outlets were photos of Minister Ariel wearing a cap with a small Israel flag printed on it, in a recent visit to the Mount.
"This is apparently the first time that he flag of Israel has been presented on the Temple Mount, since Moshe Dayan gave orders to remove the flag that paratroopers had placed on the Dome of the Rock," the groups said.
Makor Rishon reported in late March that Minister Ariel had visited the Mount, where he hummed a liturgical melody and listened to a reading of a Passover sacrifice service. The photos may be from that visit.
Minister Ariel had entered the Mount as a regular tourist, and passed through the regular "security check" that only Jews are subjected to at the entrance. This check involves the temporary confiscation of any liturgical objects that might anger the Muslim Waqf, by the Israel Police.
"Despite this," the Temple groups wrote proudly, "the minister successfully brought his cap into the Mount, and the police at the checkpoint did not notice the flag printed on it. While on the Mount, the Minister wore the cap with the flag on his head. Thus, for the first time, the Israel flag again was displayed for about an hour on the Temple Mount."
The organizations note that police do not just prevent people from bringing in liturgical objects or national symbols like holy books, tefillin and flags. They also block citizens who have Israel flags printed on their shirts. In Independence Day, the police even strip-searched several Jews, whom they suspected of hiding a flag upon their persons.
"It is very regrettable that after 56 years of liberation, a government minister has to 'smuggle in' a flag on his cap, in order to express our sovereignty on the Temple Mount," the Temple organizations noted. They called for Israel to reassert its sovereignty over the Mount.
The Temple groups also distributed a photograph of the paratroopers with the Israel flag atop the Mount, just after its liberation.