For the first time in nearly two years, Knesset members will be allowed to ascend to the Temple Mount – but only for one day, Israeli media reported last week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu originally instated the ban against lawmakers going to the controversial site in October of 2015, when Israel was caught in a wave of terror ostensibly motivated by Arab incitement over imagined Jewish control of the Temple Mount.
Originally, a “pilot” week of MK visits to the Mount was planned for the end of July, but it was cancelled in the aftermath of a terror attack near the Temple Mount which left two Israeli policemen dead.
This week, in light of “improved” security in the compound, said the Prime Minister’s Office last week, a one-day trial, held on Tuesday, will see both Arab and Jewish MKs permitted on the Temple Mount.
But MK Yehudah Glick (Likud), an outspoken Temple Mount rights activist, criticized the move, saying that he did not “intend to be a guinea pig for the prime minister’s tests.”
Glick believes the trial day is an attempt by Netanyahu to provoke a conflict on the Temple Mount between Jewish and Arab MKs in hopes of using the incident to convince the High Court that the ban should remain in place.
“Letting into the Temple Mount on the same singular day Arab and Jewish MKs will turn the world’s center of peace into a center of political confrontations,” he said according to Kipa, a Hebrew-language website.
“[Netanyahu] creates this attempt so he can come to the court on September 15 with clean hands and say ‘I tried and it did not work.’”
Glick has filed a petition with the High Court of Justice requesting that the ban be lifted.
He said he was not interested in going to the Temple Mount “as a politician to promote an agenda and to engage in unnecessary conflicts.”
“I want to ascend as an individual, and commune with the King of the Universe who chose to settle His emanation there,” he declared.
In a letter sent to members of Knesset and shared with Breaking Israel News, Glick beseeched his fellow lawmakers to respect the sanctity of the Temple Mount should they go up.
“Take responsibility and maintain the honor of the place, as well as its holiness,” he wrote. “Leave the political arguments outside the Mount.”
Despite the negative motives he sees behind the pilot day, he expressed optimism that the small event could signal a bigger change.
“I want to hope that the opening of the Temple Mount to visits from MKs will not just be a one-time event, but a new beginning appropriate for the holiest place in the world,” Glick said.