MK Mansour Abbas and PM Naftali Bennett
MK Mansour Abbas and PM Naftali Bennett צילום: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The Islamic council which provides spiritual leadership for the Southern Islamic Movement and the United Arab List has instructed the party to halt all cooperation with the Bennett government, citing law enforcement efforts against Arab rioters on the Temple Mount.

The council held an emergency meeting Sunday afternoon after one of its leaders, Sheikh Mohammad Salameh Hassan, demanded the UAL party bolt the coalition and bring down the government.

At the urging of party chief MK Mansour Abbas, the council did not insist on the UAL’s immediate departure from the coalition, but instead instructed the faction to cease all cooperation with the government for the time being.

The meeting was called amid heavy pressure on the party from within the Southern Islamic Movement to bolt the government over the use of police forces to break up Arab rioting on the Temple Mount, including the insertion of Border Police officers to the Al Aqsa Mosque, after hundreds of rioters barricaded themselves inside the building last Friday.

Even some supporters of Abbas within the party have begun to express doubts about the UAL’s continued presence in the coalition.

MK Walid Taha told Channel 13 Sunday afternoon that he is “not optimistic about our future in the coalition.”

Taha accused Jewish visitors to the Mount of sparking the riots, calling their presence on the Mount a “provocation”.

“I would expect the government to behave differently towards Jews who ascend [the Mount] to make a provocation at the Al Aqsa Mosque; but instead it let a few hundred fascists behave that way. The price will, it appears, be the dissolution of the coalition.”

The Bennett government is poised to lose its majority in the Knesset with the departure of coalition chairwoman Idit Silman (Yamina), leaving the Knesset evenly divided between the government and the opposition.

Should it lose the support of the UAL, it would be unable to defeat no-confidence votes in the Knesset.

On Sunday, Arabs attempted to block Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount by placing stones at the passageways used by Jews. Five people were injured when stones were thrown at buses carrying worshipers to the Western Wall.

The violence comes following a string of Arab terror attacks across Israel, including a stabbing attack in Haifa on Friday.

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