Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved a “trial run” Sunday allowing MKs to visit the Temple Mount, reversing an October, 2015 decision to block Jewish MKs from using their parliamentary immunity to visit the site. The decision came during a wave of stabbing attacks around the capital and was intended to prevent Arab riots in response to Jewish visits to the Mount.
The decision followed a petition to the High Court of Justice by MK Yehuda Glick, a long-time activist for Jewish prayer rights at the site, to force the prime minister to reverse the decision. Sunday, Glick, called the move “correct and praiseworthy,” but expressed sorrow that it took a court case to force Netanyahu’s hand.
Glick also called on MKs to avoid politicizing the Mount. “I call on all MKs to visit the Temple Mount, and to give honor to the site in a dignified way. (We must) leave our disagreements and our agendas of of the Mount,” he said in a statement.
Netanyahu announced at the end of March that he would reconsider the ban until after the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and four-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which ended last week. The trial period will run from July 23-28.
Notably, Arab MKs routinely ignored the ban.
“Our entry into the al-Aksa Mosque as Arab MKs and as Muslims was never, and will never be dependent on decision of the Israeli government or the prime minister of Israel,” said Knesset members representing the Islamic Movement in Israel in a statement. “Al-Aqsa Mosque is our holy space, as Muslims, and we are the only ones who have the right to visit the site and to pray there.
“[The Temple Mount] is occupied Palestinian territory. The Israeli government must leave the area. We will continue to exercise our rights to enter and pray at al-Aqsa, without waiting for an OK from the prime minister of Israel,” they added.