Arab lawmaker Ahmed Tibi of the Joint List Knesset faction blasted the visit by Jewish MKs to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.
Lawmakers Yehuda 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 week’s decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to conduct a one-day “trial.”
Jewish parliamentarians have been banned from the site since October, 2015. At the time, Netanyahu instructed police to prevent Jewish Members of Knesset (MKs) from entering the compound in an attempt to prevent a wave of Palestinian stabbing attacks that 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 anti-Israel Arabs and left-wing Israelis. He was shot and nearly killed in 2014 by a Palestinian terrorist following a lecture at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, titled “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount.” The assailant said he was “hurt” by Glick’s advocacy.
Arab MKs were quick to denounce the move to authorize their entry, calling it a “provocation” by 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,” declared MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List).
Tibi also denounced Glick and Moalem-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.
The Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site and the third-holiest to Muslims, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Tibi is an outspoken supporter of the Palestinian cause. In 2015, in tribute to arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, founder of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Tibi posted on Facebook: “Today, August 4, the 86th birthday of the great symbol, Yasser Arafat,” Tibi wrote. “The leader of a nation, the story of a revolution. How I miss you!”
By: Andrew Friedman/TPS and United with Israel Staff
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