Kislev 16, 5772, 12/12/11
Parliamentarians lash out at decision to close Temple Mount to Jews because of Rambam Gate renovations.
by Gil Ronen
Jews are not allowed to ascend to the Temple Mount, ostensibly because the bridge to the Rambam Gate (also known as the Mughrabim Gate) is unsafe and is to undergo renovation. Deputy Knesset Speaker MK Danny Danon (Likud) wants an urgent hearing to be held in the Knesset's Interior Committee to solve the problem posthaste.
Jews who arrived at the Mount Sunday were blocked by police who told them that the Jerusalem municipality deems the bridge unsafe for use and that Jews cannot enter the Mount by any other entrance.
"There is no reason that the state of Israel, whose capital is Jerusalem, will close off the Temple Mount, which is the bastion of Judaism in Israel and the entire world, and is one of the central pillars of the state of Israel," Danon stated.
The decision to close off the Mount to Jews is causing a public storm in Israel and a solution must be found immediately, he said, in a request to the Knesset Presidium to allow the urgent hearing. He noted that when the Rambam Gate was closed in 2007, Jews were temporarily instructed to use the Shalshelet Gate.
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said that the dangerous Rambam Bridge needs to be torn down immediately and replaced by a safe walkway. However, he said, "It is unthinkable that during the construction Jews will be delayed from ascending to the Mount for even a single minute." He demanded that the Prime Minister and Minister for Public Security designate an alternate entrance for Jews immediately.