Arab MKs to defy Netanyahu, visit Temple Mount

Arab MKs declare they will visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, ignoring PM's orders not to do so.

Reut Hadar,

MK Jamal Zahalka
MK Jamal Zahalka
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Arab Knesset Members from the Joint List declared on Wednesday that they intend to ignore Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s directive and visit the Temple Mount for Ramadan next month.

Last October, Netanyahu instructed Jerusalem police not to allow all ministers and MKs, either Jewish or Arab, to visit the Temple Mount.

However, Arab MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount later that month claiming that Netanyahu and Israel are not able to stop him from entering the mosque.

Now, Arab MKs are planning to defy the ban again and, in a letter they sent to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Netanyahu and police commissioner Roni Alsheikh, they wrote that visiting the Temple Mount is a religious duty, and they are obligated to do so during Ramadan.

"On behalf of the MKs from the Islamic Movement, we announce our intention to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan and pray there," the MKs wrote in a letter signed by Joint List faction chairman MK Masud Ghnaim.

"Carrying out this religious obligation is a basic right and part of our way of life as religious Muslims," they wrote in the letter, the contents of which were published by Channel 2 News.

In addition to openly defying the order not to visit the Temple Mount, Arab MKs have also called on Arabs to prevent Jews from visiting the site.

MK Jamal Zahalka last month called to prevent Jews "at all costs" and "by any means" from visiting the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site in Judaism.

"The continuation of the intifada depends on the decision of the Palestinian factions. Will the factions strengthen the popular struggle or leave it to the youths and lone individuals," Zahalka said of the current terror wave.

In September, Zahalka was filmed as he personally harassed police over allowing Jewish visitors to visit the Temple Mount.

A previous clip sent to Arutz Sheva showed fellow MK Ahmed Tibi actually striking an Israel Police officer on the mount - a criminal offense - while Zahalka "orders" police to leave the site. 




top