Calls to Fire Internal Security Minister Over Temple Mount Riots
Likud MK and Knesset Deputy Speaker Moshe Feiglin has called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to investigate the recent riots by Muslim extremists on the Temple Mount, and to take action to put an end to intimidation and violence against Jews on Judaism's holiest site - action which he says should include firing Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Feiglin branded the string of riots over the Pesach (Passover) holiday as a "Hamas takeover on the Temple Mount."
He described how "Hamas flags were flown on the Mount", as Islamists succeeded repeatedly in blocking Jews and tourist groups from visiting the holy site, and said the "sheer helplessness of the Israeli Police" marked a security failure so severe that it was impossible to overlook.
"We are talking about a loss of sovereignty in the heart of hearts of the capital of Israel, in the holiest place for the Jewish people, and the handing over [of sovereignty] to a terrorist movement which inscribes [calls for] the destruction of the State of Israel on its flag."
MK Feiglin went further, claiming that the Muslim riots were pre-planned and that the police were fully aware of them in advance - but were prevented from acting by directives forbidding them from operating within the Al Aqsa Mosque complex itself, for fear of offending Muslim sensibilities. Indeed, Islamist youths barricaded themselves inside the Al Aqsa Mosque for several hours on more than one occasion, hurling rocks and launching fireworks at riot police with impunity.
Those directives, he said, came from the Internal Security Ministry, and therefore the blame for the total collapse of security on the Temple Mount rests squarely on the shoulders of ministry head Yitzhak Aharonovich.
Those claims follow similar allegations by Temple Mount activists, who accused police of "collaborating" with Islamist rioters.
Aharonovich "did not issue the correct guidelines and did not act to combat the (openly) stated aims of terrorist groups, who are now celebrating their victory," Feiglin said.
Following such a grave failure, he continued, there was simply no way Aharonovich could be allowed to retain his post.
He called on the Prime Minister to "conduct a comprehensive and thorough investigation of the matter, and to draw the necessary conclusions - even if we are talking about personal conclusions about the leadership of the police, or indeed the Internal Security Ministry."
Despite being Judaism's holiest site, Jewish visits to the Temple Mount are severely restricted, including a blanket ban on prayers or any other forms of worship.
Jewish Temple Mount groups have slammed the measures as draconian, and a capitulation to the demands of the Waqf Islamic trust which administers the site, as well as threats by Islamist groups including Hamas.
Muslim extremists often attack or intimidate Jewish visitors in an attempt to drive them from the site, while those Jews suspected of breaking rules banning all forms of worship on the Mount are regularly arrested.
A Knesset bill is currently being considered which would instate equal prayer rights for Jews and Muslims on the Mount - a proposal which is fiercely opposed by Muslim MKs and Islamist groups.