Knesset Cmtee still forbids MKs from Temple Mount

Ethics Committee rejects Netanyahu's lifting of eight-month ban. Proposes letting Arab MKs return in July, Jewish MKs after.

Matt Wanderman,

Jewish visitor on the Temple Mount (file)
Jewish visitor on the Temple Mount (file)
Sliman Khader/Flash 90

The Knesset Ethics Committee has rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to allow MKs to visit the Temple Mount.

The committee listen to police assessments of the situation and chose "in the meantime, not to change its earlier decision" banning Knesset members from the site for eight months.

"However," the ruling noted, "when security officials decide to permit entry to Knesset members to the Temple Mount, the committee will convene and change its decision accordingly."

Police representatives suggested that Muslim MKs may resume visiting during the last week of Ramadan, which will fall on the first week of July, and that Jewish MKs be allowed to return the week after.

MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) denounced the committee's decision. "Our entry or prayer is none of the ethics committee or the Prime Minister or the police commissioner’s business," he told Walla! news. "It is a natural, religious, personal, and national right. So it was and so it will be."

A number of his fellow party members have pledged that they will go up to the Temple Mount during Ramadan in defiance of any ban.

At the same time, Tibi regularly calls for the government to forbid Jews from praying at their holiest site.

New MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) has also expressed support for legislators visiting the Temple Mount, though without discriminating by religion. He used his Twitter page to "call on all parties to join together to transform the place into a world center for peace, reconciliation and coexistence."