Omer Barlev
Omer Barlev Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev is interested in prohibiting MKs from visiting the Temple Mount during the month of Ramadan due to fears of riots, but Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara wrote to him that he is not authorized to do so.

Channel 12 News reported on Tuesday that, according to Barlev's directive, which he passed to Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai last Thursday, any MK who wishes to visit the Temple Mount during Ramadan will have to get both the district commander's approval as well the commissioner's approval. Barlev claims that Knesset members visiting the Temple Mount during Ramadan can produce a flare-up that must be prevented.

However, in a particularly scathing letter sent to him by the Attorney General, it was clarified to the Minister that there was no security justification for his move - and that no concern over riots has been expressed by the security services.

"I would like to comment that the decision to prevent an MK from entering the Temple Mount should be made with the agreement of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense, as those who are in charge of national security, and after consultation with the Israel Security Agency. Restricting an MK's access to a place that is not private domain is possible only when there is a reasonable basis for harming state security or for the purpose of preventing the disclosure of a military secret. The criteria you specified deviate from the criteria set forth in the section of the law," Baharav-Miara wrote to Barlev.

Minister Barlev said in response, "There is no doubt that the freedom of movement of a Knesset member is absolute all year round and throughout the country, including on the Temple Mount. The question arises in a situation where an unforeseen danger to the safety and life of a Knesset member develops, is it the duty of the police to act to prevent the danger to the life of a Knesset member?"