Police officer stands guard near Temple Mount
Police officer stands guard near Temple MountYonatan Sindel/Flash 90

The Prime Minister's Office clarified on Thursday that Binyamin Netanyahu's directive to ban ministers and MKs from the Temple Mount until further notice applies to Jewish and Arab Knesset members alike. 

"The decision stems from intentions to cool the atmosphere around the Temple Mount. In recent days, Netanyahu has prevented public Palestinian figured from visiting the Temple Mount," his office said. 

Netanyahu initially barred all ministers and MKs from visiting Judaism's holiest site on Wednesday night. 

While Haaretz reported on Wednesday that the ban was to apply to Jewish and Arab MKs alike, a source in the Prime Minister's Office told Arutz Sheva that Arab MKs would be allowed up, while only their Jewish counterparts would be banned.

Reports the ban only applied to Jewish elected officials instantly infuriated coalition MKs and ministers. 

Absorption Minister Ze'ev Elkin blasted the decision, telling Army Radio on Thursday that the ban should apply to Arab MKs as well. 

“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.”

“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.”

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel also panned Netanyahu's edict against Jewish MKs and ministers as "unnatural and unfair.”