Daily Israel Report

MK Feiglin Ascends Temple Mount for First Time Since Police Ban

MK Moshe Feiglin was not allowed into the Mount since April 2013. The ban was lifted following negotiations.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/19/2014, 10:56 AM

MK Moshe Feiglin
MK Moshe Feiglin
Flash 90

MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beytenu) ascended to the Temple Mount Wednesday after 10 months in which security forces refused to let him set foot there.

Feiglin reported afterward that he had toured “all corners” of the Temple Mount, including the Ramah – where the Temple building and inner courtyard were located, according to Jewish sages. Feiglin said that he had also prayed on the Mount.

Feiglin had toured the Mount every month, for years, but in April of 2013, the Commander of the Israel Police's David Precinct called him and informed him that he was no longer allowed to enter the site.

Feiglin's pilgrimages to the Mount received growing media attention after he became a Knesset Member in early 2013, and in one of his visits, he insisted on entering the Dome of the Rock – a request that was denied. 

The maverick MK has been a long-time campaigner for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount. Despite being the holiest site in Judaism, under Muslim pressure authorities enforce a raft of draconian restrictions, including a ban on praying. Religious Jews are sometimes arrested for attempting to worship at the site - which was the location of the two Temples in Jerusalem.

The Musim Waqf was angered by Feiglin's visits and in the Arab world, he was accused of “polluting” the Mount. The Justice Ministry said that the decision to make the Mount out of bounds for MK Feiglin was reached after the Attorney General approved it and that the relevant political echelon was also in favor of the decision, as were police and other security elements.

The decision, explained the Ministry at the time, “was based on past experience, including [the experience] relating to Feiglin's patterns of behavior at the Temple Mount, and MK Feiglin's recent announcement that he does not intend to coordinate his visits at the location with the Israel Police in the future, for various reasons.”

"The police and security forces estimated that given the circumstances, MK Feiglin's ascent to the Mount could potentially harm the security of the state, and his ascent to the Mount was therefore prevented,” summed up the Justice Ministry.

“I see my ascent this morning as the beginning of the return of full Jewish sovereignty to the Temple Mount, MK Feiglin said Wednesday. “The Israel Police proved that when they receive the correct orders, they can carry them out in the best possible way.”

Feiglin's visit was preceded by a protracted process of negotiation between him and the police, which was assisted by the Knesset Speaker and unspecified legal elements in the Knesset.

Next Tuesday, the Knesset is to debate the issue of Jewish access to the Temple Mount, “I hope that the Israeli Knesset will tell the Israeli Government in a clear way, that it is time to implement sovereignty and to allow every Jew to ascend from every gate,” pronounced Feiglin.

Rabbi Chaim Richman, speaking on behalf of the Temple Institute, congratulated MK Feiglin Wednesday on returning to the Temple Mount "after being banned from the holy site by Prime Minister Netanyahu for the past year."

“This is a great step forward in the struggle for Jewish sovereignty -- which is synonymous with Jewish prayer -- on the Temple Mount. Knesset member Feiglin’s ascent to the Temple Mount is a positive step towards the building of the Holy Temple and gives hope to all of Israel,” he said.

Deputy Speaker Moshe Feiglin will be a special guest on the Fifth Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day, which will be broadcast on March 30.