A controversial new bill regarding Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is set to be pushed through the Knesset by members of the Likud and Labor party.
The Temple Mount compound, on which currently sits the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, is Judaism’s most holy site. The two ancient Jewish temples were located on the Temple Mount.
Today, the Temple Mount compound is controlled by the Muslim Waqf. Jews are forbidden from praying on the Temple Mount. Since capturing Jerusalem in 1967, by law Jews are not allowed to pray on the Mount. It is a common practice for Jewish visitors to be followed around by religious police while on the mount to make sure they are not praying. Attacks on Jewish visitors are a frequent occurrence.
MK Miri Regev (Likud) and Hilik Bar (Labor) are expected to present the bill for Knesset discussion, Ynet reported. However, it remains unclear as to when the discussion will take place.
“There is no reason that Jews should not be allowed to pray in the holiest site in the world,” Regev said.
“I firmly believe that each event of Muslim unrest on the Mount should lead to its closure to Arabs. The prime minister is not the only decider on the issue, and if the proposal does not pass, I’ll turn to the High Court of Justice in a public petition until Jews are allowed to pray with tallit and tefillin on the Temple Mount,” Regev promised.
Reports out of the prime minister’s office is that Netanyahu is planning on blocking the bill since it could lead to violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police.
However, Bar hopes that the new bill would result in “Jews and Arabs living side by side.”
“I see in these holy sites the cradle of our existence, and if someone on the left has complaints against Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount – they will have a hard time claiming that other ethnicities suffer discrimination,” he said.
On Passover, a video emerged showing Jewish visitors, including small children, to the Temple Mount being physically harassed by Muslims and anti-Semitic slurs hurled at them. Recently, a Christian Pastor was thrown off of the Temple Mount by the Waqf for speaking with a Jew.
The new bill would reverse previous regulations banning Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. Seeking freedom of worship, the bill asks for a similar level of worship like that of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, where Jews and Muslims share the holy site.