AZ group of right-wing coalition Members of Knesset led by Simcha Rothman sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai demanding an examination of the treatment of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount by police officers. Copies of the letter were also sent to Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir and National Security Committee Chairman Zvika Fogel. Co-signers included Ariel Kallner, Tally Gotliv, Ohad Tal, Amit Halevi, and Dan Illouz
The letter says that “such a reality, after 2,000 years of exile, cannot happen in the Jewish state”. The MKs called for convening the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to discuss the issue “if necessary.”
The letter also related to recent incidents in which religious Jews were attacked while praying at public venues.
“Last week, the entire nation of Israel, and us among them, was shocked to discover a new reality in a country where Jews praying in the center of the first Hebrew city – Tel Aviv – were beaten and humiliated, while the Israeli police stood by.”
“At the same time, the police use harsh violence against Jews on the Temple Mount, the source of our identity and the purpose of our national existence.
“This reality, after two thousand years of exile, cannot be tolerated in a Jewish state. We ask for this to be clarified as soon as possible and, if necessary, to convene a meeting of the National Security Committee to discuss the issue,” the MKs demanded.
Throughout the holiday, the Beyadenu Temple Mount advocacy organization documented multiple cases of police targeting Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, even resorting to force.
Akiva Ariel, the spokesman for the Beyadenu Temple Mount advocacy group, noted that police have been aggressive towards Jews at the Temple Mount during this holiday. The organization documented that Jews visiting the Temple Mount were met with severe violence by policemen. In the video, a policeman is seen turning off his body camera, approaching and brutally beating a young boy. The policemen were also observed trying to take cellphones by force and used threats and harsh language against them.
“So far, 22 Jews have been arrested on the Temple Mount. several of them for attempting to bring a lulav and etrog into the compound in order to perform the mitzvah that is specific to the holiday. Others were arrested for attempting to prostrate themselves on the holy stones.”
“Despite all the police limitations, hundreds of Jews ascended to the temple mount in honor of the holiday. Nonetheless, it’s sad to see that even under a right-wing government and a strong minister of national defense who himself ascends to the Temple Mount, Jewish rights are limited and Jews are arrested for practicing their religion.”
In a video provided by Beyadenu, police are seen using force against Jews on the Temple Mount. They order the people to stop recording while turning off their body cameras.
Tom Nisani, head of the Beyadenu Temple Mount advocacy organization was critical of the government’s handling of Judaism’s holiest site.
“It is impossible for us to accept the reality of restricting and destroying religious freedom in Israel, not in Tel Aviv but also not on the Temple Mount,” Nisani said. “I thank the members of the Knesset who are working on the issue and expect the decision makers will investigate the situation and dismiss the police officers involved in the destruction of the evidence and the beating of the minors.”