The government discriminates against Jews visiting the Temple Mount, admitted Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan at a Knesset conference organized by MK Yehudah Glick on Monday. He also said that Jewish rights to the Mount were non-negotiable.
“The status quo on the Temple Mount today discriminates against Jews,” said Erdan, referring to dictates on the Mount which prohibit Jews and other non-Muslims from praying or visiting the site, Judaism’s holiest, freely.
“Muslims can pray there, and millions do each year,” he noted.
The reason behind the discrimination is for the safety of the Jewish visitors, he said, referring to Muslim “violence and harassment.” Police follow guidelines intended to avoid confrontations between Muslims and Jews, which include preventing Jews from “provoking” Muslim ire by praying.
Glick and other leaders of the Temple Mount rights movement have said that the policies pander to Muslim incitement and weaken the Jewish and Israeli positions.
The aim of the conference, called Jerusalem for Peace, was to raise awareness of the need for change on the Temple Mount. Government ministers called for a shift in the status quo, pointing out that in the light of two recent UNESCO resolutions, it is more important than ever for Jews to establish their connection to the Mount.
“Our grip on the Temple Mount has deteriorated and as a consequence so has our grip on the entire country,” former Likud MK Moshe Feiglin said in his speech.
“How can we prove to UNESCO that we do have a connection to the Temple Mount when Israeli governments, and especially the current one, are voting to the contrary?”
The conference also inaugurated the creation of the new Knesset Caucus for the Temple Mount, as well as serving as a celebration of two years since Glick’s miraculous survival of an assassination attempt on his life motivated by his work on the Temple Mount.
While Glick often worked against the status quo – and the Israeli institutions that upheld it – before he entered the Knesset, since his appointment he has striven to integrate his Temple Mount activism with government work. He presented Erdan with a certificate honoring his efforts to make the Temple Mount safer for Jews.
Glick cited the banning of the Islamic groups Morabitun and Morabitat, agitators paid by the Islamic Movement to harass Jews and non-Muslims on the site both verbally and physically, from the Temple Mount as a particular triumph.
Until recently, said Erdan, “Jews’ visits to the Temple Mount were blocked with racist signs, and [Jews were] accosted in a threatening manner. Make no mistake, all of this was planned, timed and financed.”
Erdan, and other speakers at the event, took the opportunity to speak about the absurdity of the UNESCO resolutions which, along with the status quo, attempt to sever the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.
“Our right to the Temple Mount is indisputable and no international group can rewrite history or deny that. The Temple Mount is the holiest place for the Jewish people; that cannot be changed,” he said.