Avri Gilad
Avri Gilad Flash 90

Popular Israeli host Avri Gilad suggested on Sunday that the Temple Mount should be closed off to Muslims for an extended period.

Speaking on his radio show on Army Radio, Gilad referred to footage which surfaced last week and which showed several dozen hareidi Jews, including children, who were harassed by Muslims as they ascended the Temple Mount.

The Muslims began hurling objects at the hareidim, spat at them, hurled shoes and sticks and pulled the sidelocks of one of the children.

“You can’t ignore it,” Gilad said of the footage, adding, "Lots of loud Arab women surrounding them with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’... and the basically helpless police takes the Jews away from there.”

“Maybe we have to close the Temple Mount for a month, two months, a year, five, ten ... to everyone ... to everyone ... The Waqf is way too overconfident, the Muslims there are completely confused and must be stopped. They won’t ascend the Temple Mount not from age 40 and not from age 50. Let it stand empty until the next generation comes along,” he added.

The Temple Mount is Judaism's most sacred spot. Israeli police, in an attempt to appease the Muslim Waqf which was left in charge of the Temple Mount compound after the 1967 Six Day War, ban Jews from praying or performing any other form of worship.

Police sometimes close the Mount to Jews altogether in response to Muslim riots - for days or weeks at a time - despite evidence that such violence is usually planned in advance for the specific purpose of forcing Jews out. 

At times, police restrict Muslim entry to the Temple Mount, but only for certain age groups, usually youth, and only for one day at a time. This usually comes after the Arab rioting is taken one step too far.

In March, two Arab rioters were arrested for attempting to attack MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) as he visited the Temple Mount.

Hundreds of rioters threw rocks at Feiglin and several individuals who accompanied him. Feiglin was forced to leave the site, and police took steps to break up the riot.

As a result of the riot, the Temple Mount was closed Thursday morning to Jews and to tourists.

Two days earlier, Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) was also forced to leave the Temple Mount after rioters threw stones at him. Then, too, police cleared the Mount of non-Muslims.