National Union serves ultimatum

Insists PM and Internal Security Minister allow ministers to ascend Temple Mount, threatens immediate High Court appeal if demand not met.

Mordechai Sones ,

MK Yehuda Glick and MK Shuli Mualem denied entry to Temple Mount compound, August 23, 2017
MK Yehuda Glick and MK Shuli Mualem denied entry to Temple Mount compound, August 23, 2017
Flash 90

The National Union party on Monday appealed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan to cancel the directive to prevent cabinet ministers from ascending the Temple Mount, allowing only Knesset members to go.

The letter also contains an ultimatum that if the demand is not accepted, the party will submit a petition to the High Court on Tuesday.

In a letter sent by Attorney Yitzhak Bam on behalf of the party, it was written that "the very decision to restrict the freedom of movement of Knesset members within the State, and to prohibit them from entering a public place of religious importance that any other citizen or tourist can enter, constitutes a serious violation of Knesset member's rights as anchored in Article 9 of the Immunity Law of Knesset Members."

Bam's letter also states: "The Ministers of the Government of Israel have the same rights, obligations, and immunities as members of the Knesset. Article 15 of the law even takes pains to apply them to ministers who are not Knesset members, and therefore there is no legal basis for distinguishing between ministers and Knesset members regarding freedom of movement within the State.

"In addition, as far as preventing a minister's entry to the Temple Mount is based on fear that the minister's ascension to the holy place would constitute a demonstration of sovereignty over the place, the very fear of demonstrating Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount undermines the rationale of the Basic Law that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel."

Bam summarizes his letter and notes that "for these reasons, I request that you not exclude ministers from the 'pilot' ascension up the Temple Mount, and insofar as ministers continue to be prevented from ascending the Temple Mount, the National Union party will petition the High Court of Justice."

National Union faction chairman Uri Ariel said that "the Temple Mount is the holiest site for the Jewish people and the decision to allow MKs to go up to the Temple Mount but not ministers is scandalous.

"The decision violates the basic democratic values of the State of Israel and my rights as a government minister, as a Knesset member, and as a citizen of the State of Israel. I appeal to the Prime Minister to render the petition unnecessary and allow me and the other ministers who so desire to ascend the Temple Mount," added Minister Ariel.