by Jeremy Sharon
Bayit Yehudi MK Muallem decries "manipulative use of security [concerns] to prevent Jews praying at Temple Mount."
Bayit Yehudi MK Shuli Muallem visited the Temple Mount Tuesday in protest over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to forbid such action by Likud MK Moshe Feiglin.
Feiglin has visited the Temple Mount once a month for several years, but was prevented from doing so Monday following a phone call from the police informing him that the prime minister had given instructions barring him from the site, citing security concerns.
During her visit, Muallem said that members of Knesset should set a personal example and go up to the Temple Mount "in order to elevate the Jewish people up another level."
The MK also decried "the manipulative use of security [concerns] to prevent Jews praying at the Temple Mount."
The Wakf Muslim religious trust which administers the Temple Mount is fiercely opposed to any non-Muslim prayer at the site.
There have been increased efforts in recent months on behalf of Temple Mount devotees to assert Jewish prayer rights at the site.
Although the Supreme Court has upheld such rights at the holy site, the court allows police to prevent prayer and other forms of worship if they believe it will cause a public disturbance.
One group in favor of an arrangement for Jewish prayer at the holy site is Beit Hillel, a centrist association of 170 national-religious rabbis and female Jewish leaders and Torah scholars.
"We call on the government of Israel to put a stop to the degradation of Jews on the Temple Mount and to find a way to enable Jews to play at the holy place," the organization said in a statement to the press earlier this week, ahead of Jerusalem Day which this year falls on May 8.
"The Temple Mount is the holiest place [in the world] for the Jewish People and it is inconceivable that Jews who go up to the mount in accordance with Jewish law – for those authorities who permit it – [are] prevented from praying at the site.
Discrimination on the basis of religion, in which Muslims are permitted to pray in this holy place while Jews are forbidden to pray, is completely unacceptable in a democratic state."
Beit Hillel added that the debate and the campaign over prayer rights at the site should be carried out "with respect for the law and law enforcement."
In the same statement, the organization expressed support for the creation of an egalitarian prayer area at the Western Wall to resolve the long-standing dispute between the authorities and the Women of the Wall activist group which seeks to assert its prayer rights at the site.