MK Glick Petitions Court to Lift Temple Mount Ban
MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) petitioned the High Court of Justice on Tuesday to lift an 18-month-old ban precluding Israeli lawmakers from visiting the Temple Mount, ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover.
The petition asked the court to issue a decree nisi (conditional court order) instructing Prime Minister Netanyahu to refrain from giving the police “any operational orders in general and any relating to the Temple Mount in particular that would restrict freedom of movement or worship there.”
“I spoke to the attorney general last week and told him that I was going to ask the court to rule on the ban,” Glick told TPS. “We had hearings at the Knesset Ethics Committee, the ministry of public security and the police department – every one of them said there is no reason to ban MKs from the Temple Mount. Over the past year the police have managed to get rid of all violent elements from the site and the Temple Mount has become remarkably quiet. There is no reason to block me, or anyone else, from visiting.”
To back up the claim, Glick said that 1150 Jews visited the Temple Mount during the Jewish month of Adar, which ended Monday, compared with 800 during the same month in 2016.
Glick also repeated his claim, stated originally in a Facebook post, that Netanyahu and Coalition Whip David Bitan, have refused to meet with him about this and other issues, and added that Prime Minister Netanyahu only agreed to rescind the ban because he understood the Court would rule in favor of Glick and order the prime minister to allow MKs the right to visit the Mount.
The petition states that it was submitted “to do away with the… unprecedented phenomenon in which members of the Knesset have been barred from the Temple Mount for more than a year while every other citizen, resident, or tourist has been able to visit the holy site without any disturbance or problem.”
However, security officials say they have “serious concern” about allowing politicians to visit the Temple Mount prior to the holiday of Passover, which begins on April, despite a reported 40 percent spike in the number of Jews visiting the site over the past year.
Yesterday, Netanyahu announced he would consider removing the ban after a string of Jewish spring holidays, including Passover, Israel Independence Day, and Jerusalem Day, which will mark the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the city. The ban will continue until after the Jewish holiday of Shavuot and the Muslim month of Ramadan, which runs this year from late May to late June, at which time a new assessment will take place then and should the security establishment permit it, the ban will be lifted.
Although Jews can visit the Temple Mount at proscribed times, Jewish prayer on the site is strictly prohibited for political and security reasons. In October, 2015, Netanyahu banned all Israeli politicians from visiting the site in order to reduce tensions with Jordan and to contain violence in Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.
Additional reporting by Andrew Friedman