Of all the government ministers to be affected by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's ban on ministerial visits to the Temple Mount, none are likely to be more affected than Uri Ariel.
The Agriculture Minister is a frequent visitor to the site, and speaking Thursday, Ariel called the ban “unnatural and unfair.”
Speaking to Kol Chai radio, Ariel said that he had not heard the edict directly from Netanyahu – only second-hand – so he did not know what the extent of the ban included.
“I will speak to the Prime Minister about this, but in principle I say that it is abnormal and unfair to ban Jews from the Temple Mount. It is probably illegal to ban MKs and ministers from doing this, and it is certainly illegal to ban Jewish MKs but not Arab MKs."
According to police, Arab MKs from the Joint List party have taken a central role in stirring up provocations on the Temple Mount, which it claims is a Muslim holy site and should be closed to Jews.
Arab MK Jamal Zahalka (Joint List) last week personally harassed police over allowing Jewish visitors to visit the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, going on a rant against police and Israeli officials.
“Zahalka is one of the 'righteous of the earth,' who only brings peace in his wake,” said Ariel sarcastically. “I guess that's why he is allowed to ascend the Mount and I am not.”
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.