Israeli lawmakers Moshe Feiglin and Uri Ariel were prohibited from visiting the Temple Mount, where religious discrimination and violence are common practice.

By Atara Beck

Moshe Feiglin, a Member of Knesset – Israel’s parliament – was the latest victim of religious discrimination by Muslims at the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, when he was forced to leave the area on Thursday morning due to Arab violence.

Although Israel liberated east Jerusalem during the Six Day War, the Jordanian-Muslim religious trust (Waqf) has been in charge ever since. While Muslims wander freely – for example, nine out of 10 entrance gates are designated for Muslims only – non-Muslims suffer long lineups and are permitted to visit only at designated times.

If, however, violence erupts – which is often the case, as occurred on Thursday – the opportunity for non-Muslims to ascend is cancelled. When they do manage to visit, they are followed closely by policemen and Waqf officials and are prohibited from praying or even showing emotion. None of these restrictions apply to Muslims.

Hundreds of Arab youths, supported by socalled human rights activists, gathered at the site on Thursday to demand that Feiglin, a longtime promoter of Jewish rights to the Temple Mount, leave. Two were arrested for throwing rocks at the Knesset member.

“The incident today shows more than ever that the Temple Mount is such a powder keg, specifically because it is clear to the Palestinians that violence pays off. Israeli weakness encourages this violence,” Feiglin declared, as reported by Israel National News.

These events occur often. On Sunday, for instance, Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel also had to leave because of rock throwers. Then, too, police cleared the Mount of non-Muslims in order to prevent a flare-up.

“A reality in which rioters determine the day’s agenda on the Temple Mount and prevent Jewish visitors from ascending [to the Mount] is unacceptable,” Ariel stated after the visit, according to INN. “I went up to the Mount this morning, I intend to keep on doing so in the future, and I demand that security forces help keep Jewish sovereignty intact and allow any Jew to ascend to the Mount freely.”

These cases involving Feiglin and Ariel were particularly notable since they are members of the Israeli government. But all non-Muslims wanting to pray at the Mount experience abuse, which is most intense when Jews, rather than Christians and others, are involved.

Canadian dignitary Stockwell Day, for example, was in Jerusalem as part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s delegation in January. He visited the Temple Mount and told United with Israel he was shocked “to see Jews being treated clearly as second-class citizens.”