Daily Israel Report

Police Ban Former MK Ben-Ari From Temple Mount

Temple Mount scholar Ben-Ari blocked from holiest site in Judaism. Slams police 'cowardice' in folding to Waqf.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/31/2014, 1:50 PM

Michael Ben-Ari facing off with police (file)
Michael Ben-Ari facing off with police (file)
Flash 90

This Sunday, the same day the Temple Institute hosted its Fifth Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day, former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari was banned from visiting the holiest site in Judaism by Israeli police.

Ben-Ari holds a doctorate in Land of Israel studies and specialized in the archaeology and history of the Temple Mount, a topic he began lecturing on at Ariel University last November.

On Facebook he wrote that he intended to visit the site on Sunday morning, "to visit the places allowed by halakha (Jewish law)," adding that his visit was not planned with any group, and that he would be accompanied by his three oldest sons.

However, Ben-Ari reported on Facebook Sunday that Israeli police blocked him from entering the Temple Mount. While the former MK was blocked, his three sons were allowed onto the site without their father.

"I arrived at the Temple Mount now, at the entrance the guard in the guard booth informed me that by the order of the commander I was forbidden from entering the Temple mount, with no trial, no warning, just like that," wrote Ben-Ari.

At the site, which has been left under the de facto rule of the Jordanian Waqf (Muslim Trust), Jewish visitors are frequently targeted for harsh treatment, which has included strip searches and arrests, and are forbidden to show any Jewish symbols, including the Israeli flag. All non-Muslim prayer is forbidden at the site.

"Only Jews are blocked"

"Masses of Japanese, Czechs, Peruvians go in without any obstacle, only Jews are blocked from entering," remarked Ben-Ari.

However, Ben-Ari refused to accept the decree. "The wretched harassment of the frightened police won't stop us," he declared. "From here I'm going on to a lecture to hundreds of youth about the location of the Temple and the Temple Mount. I won't despair, we'll keep fighting."

"We have no other Temple Mount, we have no other land. A great shame on the Israeli police's cowardice - they are strong against Jews in harshness and maliciousness, but weak against rock and firebomb throwers," concluded the former MK.