Elkin: Ban Arab MKs from Temple Mount

Arab MKs are the real inciters on the Temple Mount, says Minister Ze'ev Elkin - so what aren't they being banned, like Jewish MKs?

Yaakov Levi,

Ze'ev Elkin
Ze'ev Elkin
Flash 90

In order to “reduce tensions,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday forbade ministers and MKs from his coalition from visiting the Temple Mount. 

But, posed Minister of Immigrant Absorption Ze'ev Elkin, what about Arabs MKs from the Joint List, who are the real source of incitement and tensions on the Mount?

He is still awaiting an answer to the question from the Prime Minister, Elkin told Army Radio on Thursday. 

“I can understand the logic in a situation where it is not a good idea for MKs or ministers to visit the Temple Mount,” said Elkin. “But it is not clear to me why this does not apply to MKs from the Joint List, considering the level of incitement that emanates from them.”

In recent days, Arab MKs have been present on the Temple Mount as serious riots broke out, with young Arabs throwing rocks and firebombs at police. Instead of seeking to allay the situation, the Arab MKs have been inciting crowds against police.

“The ones who need to be banned are the Arab Joint List MKs,” Elkin asserted. “There is no one who incites more against the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount than them.”

According to police, Arab MKs from the Joint List party have taken a central role in stirring up provocations on the Mount, which it claims is a Muslim holy site and should be closed to Jews. 

While Netanyahu can prevent cabinet ministers such as Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) - a frequent visitor to Judaism's holiest site - from visiting simply by threatening to fire them, he does not exercise similar control over MKs, and has therefore ordered police to physically prevent their entry.

The Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site, but in response to Muslim threats of violence Jews are banned from conducting any form of worship at the site, which also houses the Al Aqsa Mosque complex.

Muslim extremists have escalated their attempts to prevent even limited Jewish visits to the holy site, harassing Jewish visitors and attacking police.

Clashes on the Mount escalated over the Rosh Hashana holiday, when Islamist rioters barricaded themselves inside the mosque and hurled projectiles at police, who responded by entering the mosque and quelling the violence.

That prompted angry threats from the Jordanians, who threatened to withdraw their ambassador from Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu's moves are a bid to calm those tensions, but will be seen by right-wing critics as yet another capitulation to Arab demands.