Aviva Morris, a 20-year-old Temple Mount activist, was arrested over the weekend by Israeli Police for saying “Mohammed is a pig” while on a visit to the Temple Mount. Since the incident, two other Israelis have been arrested for making similar comments while visiting the holy site.
According to several media outlets, the young exasperated activist called Mohammed a “pig” after an extended period of provocation by a hoard of angry Muslims while visiting the Temple Mount.
Morris, a resident of Shilo, refused to apologize for her comments. She told Israel’s Channel 2 that she and other Jewish visitors to the Mount that day endured verbal abuse by Arab women from the moment they arrived.
“They wouldn’t stop insulting us,” she said. “They didn’t stop offending our feelings and those of Jews. At some point, after more than an hour of taunts and insults, I decided to respond after things reached a climax.”
According to Morris, the women “shouted and surrounded us — they called ‘Slaughter the Jews,’ and ‘God is great’ [in Arabic].”
Morris and her group were quickly whisked off the Temple Mount by police. She was later arrested in her home for what police said were actions to incite violence.
Morris is a member of the “Returning to the Mount” activist group, dedicated to rebuilding the Third Temple. The Temple Mount, the holiest site in the world for Jews as the location of the First and Second Temples, is also holy to Muslims. Currently, the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine sit atop the mount, and Jewish access to the site is severely restricted. The site is a frequent flashpoint for violence.
The Islamic Movement in Israel called Sunday for a “reaction” to what they called an insult.
According to Palestinian newspaper Falastin, Muslim riots in Jerusalem Sunday were the result of 20-year-old Aviya Morris’s statement Thursday. Although the Arab paper did not quote the young woman, she had been filmed shouting “Mohammed is a pig”. The video went viral among Palestinians.
Minor clashes between Arabs and police took place Friday, as well, following prayers on the Temple Mount.
Despite court rulings to the contrary, police prevent non-Muslims from performing any form of religious worship on the Mount, and Muslim activists frequently abuse Jewish visitors to prevent them from ‘gaining a foothold’.
The Islamic Movement called on followers to strengthen the Muslim hold on the Temple Mount by maintaining a presence and resisting Jewish attempts to “burst into it.”
Meanwhile, The Joint Arab List released a statement the same day condemning Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) for his visit to the Temple Mount earlier in the day. On Sunday, Jews worldwide marked the anniversary of the destruction of both Temples, and Ariel ascended the Mount in commemoration.
Police Footage of Temple Mount Riots
In their statement, the Arab List MKs wrote, Ariel’s “provocative entry was meant to change the status quo, which will lead to the igniting of fires throughout the entire region.” They added that Israeli police “prevented hundreds of believers and worshippers from expressing freedom of worship and prevented them from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque by means of violence and physical force.”
Another Arab MK took the opportunity to claim the Jewish Temples never existed. Joint Arab List MK Masoud Ganaim told Israel Army Radio on the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction that the Jewish Temples never stood on the Temple Mount, a fact he knows for certain as he is a history teacher.
“The State of Israel knows that Jews and Israel have no legitimacy to the site except for their legitimacy as an occupier – a legitimacy won by force,” he said. “The site has always been holy to Islam,” Ganaim repeated, “never to any other religion.” He blasted Ariel for his visit to the Temple Mount, calling it “incitement” and the minister an “occupier”.
When pressed specifically on the historical existence of the Jewish Temple, he acknowledged, “At most,” there “may have been” a temple “somewhere else.”
Ganaim was interviewed alongside Jewish Home MK Yinon Magal. Both men were asked to weigh in on the topic of Muslim rioting on the Temple Mount.