MKs Yehudah Glick (Likud) and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) became the first Jewish parliamentarians in nearly two years to visit the Temple Mount Tuesday, following last weeks decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to conduct a one-day “trial.”
Jewish parliamentarians have been banned from the site since October, 2015. At that time, Prime Minister Netanyahu instructed police to prevent Jewish MKs from entering the compound in an attempt to prevent a wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks that had started the previous month from escalating into a full-blown intifada.
Glick is a well-known tour guide and outspoken activist for Jewish prayer rights at the holy site, making him a bête noire to many Arabs and left-wing Israelis. He was shot and nearly killed in 2014 by an Arab terrorist following a lecture at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem entitled “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount.” The assailant said he was “hurt” by Glick’s advocacy.
After his visit to the Mount, Glick told press, “I hope that this place will fulfill its destiny to be a house for worldwide peace.”
MK Yehudah Glick Speaks After Visiting Temple Mount
“When I was up there I was thinking about the Israeli society; I wish that we could close the gaps [between society groups] and be less polarized,” he said, adding that despite the embargo on Jewish prayer at the site, he had prayed “for my wife and children and for world peace.”
Moalem-Refaeli said that the only prayer she had offered “was in my heart.”
“I can’t understand why… This is the holiest place for the Jewish people, and I couldn’t pray there,” she said of the intense police and Waqf Islamic trust supervision at the site.
Arab MKs were quick to denounced the visit the move to authorize their entry a “provocation” by Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israel Police and a violation of the status quo at the combustible holy site.
“Arab MKs will enter [the Temple Mount] whenever they want, not whenever Netanyahu gives the OK,” said MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint List).
Tibi also denounced Glick and Moale-Refaeli as “right-wing extremists” who “broke into al-Aqsa Mosque with the help of the Israeli government and its police.
“They want to allow them to pray in the mosque’s courtyard,” Tibi fumed.
With additional reporting by Breaking Israel News staff.