For the first time, the Knesset will be holding a meeting to hear arguments for allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. A special Knesset subcommittee will be gathering on Monday for the purposes of carrying out an in-depth examination of Jewish demands to pray on Judaism’s most holy site.
The Temple Mount has been under extremely limited Israeli control for several decades and is largely controlled by the Muslim Waqf. The Waqf imposes harsh limits on Jews who come to pray on the Temple Mount, going so far as to follow them around to make sure no prayers are uttered from Jewish lips.
The subcommittee, which is part of the Internal Affairs and Environmental Committee, was created on the request of MK Miri Regev, who heads the committee.
Yehuda Glick, coordinator for the Liba Project for Jewish Rights on the Temple Mount, wrote on his Facebook page, “I am very excited as the day approaches.”
“The Subcommittee for Examining the Entry of Jews to the Temple Mount is convening for the first time,” Glick wrote. “The organizations that deal with encouraging Jews to ascent to the Temple Mount were invited to the discussion.”
Glick said he was “overjoyed” by the actions of the committee, who he said that “even if they do not accept everything that is said, my feeling is that until today, no one ever really heard our version of things.”
The right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount has been a constant source of tension between Jews and Muslims in Israel. Non-Muslim worship is completely forbidden by the Waqf. Islamist groups have often threatened and carried out extreme violence against Jews visiting the Mount.
In March, MK Moshe Feiglin was attacked by Muslim rioters while on a visit to the Temple Mount. Rioters threw stones at Feiglin and his group, who were forced to leave the Temple Mount. According to reports, as soon as Feiglin entered the Temple Mount area, he was immediately surrounded by Palestinians who shouted “Allah Akbar” and began to pelt the MK with stones.
Feiglin is an outspoken advocate for allowing Jews to assert their religious rights and pray on the Temple Mount.