Temple Mount
Temple MountIsrael news photo: Flash 90

“There is basic, racist discrimination on the Temple Mount. Jews are discriminated against on the Temple Mount, period. That's the situation.” So says Michael Fuah of the Likud's Jewish Leadership faction, which recently compiled its own report on discrimination on the Temple Mount after a State Comptroller's report was censored.

The Knesset has taken an interest in the Jewish Leadership faction's report, and the Internal Affairs committee plans to discuss its findings in a special hearing on Tuesday.

The Temple Mount discrimination “deals a blow to the values on which the state of Israel was founded, as a Jewish, democratic state,” Fuah told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew-language news service. The situation has worsened in recent months, he added.

Fuah described the discrimination: “Everyone who has attempted to ascend the Temple Mount knows the reality, in which everyone with a 'Jewish look,' a beard and kippah, experiences discrimination. He is pulled aside for extra checks while everyone else passes by unimpeded.” In addition, Jews are prohibited to pray at the site.

“This discrimination is taking place at the place that is holiest to the Jewish people,” he noted.

In some cases, he said, individual Jews have been forbidden to ascend to the Temple Mount, which according to Judaism is the world's most holy place. “They simply got a phone call in which [the police] told them that they cannot visit the Temple Mount, with no reason given,” he said.

He recalled the case of Rabbi Yosef Elbaum, of the Belz chassidic sect, who was prohibited to visit the Mount following an interview with Arutz Sheva in which he mentioned his efforts on behalf of the Movement for Establishing the Temple. Members of the group study Jewish law regarding the Temple and the Temple Mount.

“Rabbi Elbaum is sixty, and he never hurt anyone,” Fuah said. “Among Arabs, on the other hand, anyone over the age of 40 can enter the Temple Mount freely.”

He expressed hope that Members of Knesset would set clear criteria for cases in which individuals may be barred from the Temple Mount – thus allowing the people in question to appeal the decision. MK Yoel Hasson of Kadima has already come forward in support of allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, he stated, and there is hope that others will do the same.

“The time has come to stop discriminating against Jews because they are Jews,” he concluded.