MKs Demand Lift of Temple Mount Ban

Written by Editor on . Posted in Op-Ed

(Yona Schnitzer/TPS) MKs Yehuda Glick (Likud) and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) have petitioned the Knesset to annul a two-year-old decision restricting MKs from visiting the Temple Mount. Prime Minister Netanyahu unilaterally barred MK visits to the site in 2015 following several violent incidents in and around Eastern Jerusalem by Islamic groups protesting pilgrimages by Jews to the Mount.

But Glick and Moalem-Refaeli challenged Netanyahu’s directive, calling it an illegal violation of parliamentary immunity.

“The sweeping prohibition barring MKs from visiting the Temple Mount, which has been in place for two years, is a gross violation of the MK immunity law,” the two wrote in their letter to Knesset Presidium, which is headed by Speaker of the House MK Yoel (Yuli) Edelstein (Likud). “It is clear that there is no reason to continue the prohibition,” they added.

Glick is a long-time advocate for Jewish prayer rights on the Mount. He was shot at point-blank range by a Palestinian gunman in October 2014 after addressing a Jerusalem conference on the Temple Mount.

In response to the petition, the Presidium office said it would convene to discuss the issue within 10 days to determine if Netanyahu’s directive constitutes a violation of the MK immunity law.

“Members of the Knesset are entitled to freedom of movement as per their immunity. How can it be that the prime minister is blatantly violating the law?” Glick told the Israel Broadcast Corporation (Kan)  Wednesday, adding that “the parliamentary immunity law prohibits the prime minister from limiting the freedom of movement MKs enjoy.”