The racist policies enforced by the Israeli police on the Temple Mount became even more apparent as an Arab MK intentionally violated a rule requiring lawmakers to notify police 24 hours in advance of entering the compound. On a holy day commemorating the destruction of the Jewish Temples, it became apparent that this rule only applied to Jews.
Arab MK intentionally violates rule
MK Ahmad Tibi entered the Temple Mount compound on Tisha B’Av despite neglecting to make the arrangements in advance, as all MKs are required to do. Tibi justified his offense, arguing to the police that as a Muslim, he has no need to do so. Tibi’s claim was apparently acceptable as he was permitted to pass.
At the same time, the Israeli police prevented MK Itamar Ben Gvir from entering Judaism’s holiest site.
“The Israeli police is operating in a racist manner,” Ben Gvir told the media. “They tell Arab MKs that they are exempt from the requirements placed on Jewish MKs. This is simply racist and I cannot accept it.
Last month, Knesset Member Amichai Chikli (Yamina) was turned away by the Israeli police when he attempted to enter the Temple Mount compound. Chikli arrived at a time when Jews were permitted to enter however he was turned away with the explanation that he had not given the 24-hours notice required from Knesset members.
At the time, Ben Gvir noted that Arab MKs, and specifically Ahamad Tibi, were permitted to enter the Temple Mount without the required advance notice.
In 2017, Tibi was officially reprimanded by the Knesset Ethics Committee for precisely the same offense. In his complaint to the committee, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan wrote that MK Tibi`s visit ”did not happen during a calm and serene time and was not made privately and discretely, rather in an overt and demonstrative way, as a clear provocation in a sensitive and stormy time.” Tibi entered the Temple Mount Compound during a period that PM Netanyahu had banned all MKs from visiting the site. Minister Erdan told the committee he has no doubt Tibi’s visit ”endangered the public welfare and security, and could have incited others to commit violent acts.
Tibi has stated in the past that he does not believe the two Jewish Temples described in the Bible ever existed on the holy site. As such, he objects to Jews praying at or even visiting the site.
Bennett’s coalition partners insist “No Jews allowed”
The Islamic Movement’s Ra’am party, a partner in the coalition government led by PM Naftali Bennett, announced: “The Al-Aqsa Mosque is an exclusive right of Muslims and no one else has any right to it.”
It should be noted that Jews are not permitted to enter the silver-domed Al-Aqsa Mosque on the southern end of the Temple Mount. The Palestinians have adopted a narrative that the entire site, including the Western Wall, is “Al Aqsa.”
Ra’am chairman MK Mansour Abbas said that his party sent a clear message to Prime Minister Bennett regarding this “invasion” during Tisha B’Av, and the Islamic Movement and Ra’am warned about serious consequences “in the mosque plaza that is fully Islamic-owned in all its 35.5 acres.”
Sunday marked a new record for Jewish visitation to the site on Tisha B’Av with 1,679 Jews ascending to the Temple Mount. Tisha B’Av (the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av) is a fast day commemorating the destruction of both Jewish Temples in Jerusalem. Jews also refrain from wearing leather shoes and bathing. Jews also refrain from studying Torah, an act that brings great joy.
Pre-dawn Arab violence on the Temple Mount also increased the burden on the Israeli police who were tasked with protecting the right of Jews to visit their holiest site on the holy day. The Arabs barricaded themselves into the compound in an attempt to prevent the police from entering and, according to some media reports, pelted police with stones.