Knesset Speaker Yuli Edlestein on Thursday ordered the Knesset Guard to provide Likud MK Moshe Feiglin with full-time protection in the wake of the attempted assassination of a Temple Mount activist the previous night.
Feiglin is known for strident demands for increased Israeli control of the Temple Mount, the site of Judaism’s two ancient temples and a holy site for Islam, from which the prophet Mohammed is believed to have ascended to Heaven.
Edelstein instructed the Knesset’s sergeant-at-arms Brig. Gen. Yosef Grif to assign a bodyguard for Feiglin, whose visits to the Temple Mount have drawn media and police attention. Feiglin was arrested for praying there in October 2012 and January 2013, before he became an MK, and has since re-visited the holy site.
Feiglin tried to enter it on Thursday morning, but was prevented from doing so by police, who closed the site to all visitors except a small number of Muslim worshipers amid swirling tensions in the capital. He was joined by other right-wing activists at the site. Feiglin had called for a mass march on the Temple Mount as a response to the Wednesday night shooting attack on right-wing activist Yehudah Glick, head of the Temple Mount Faithful organization, which campaigns for an increased Jewish presence at the site.
Edelstein also told Grif to provide security for any other MK, whether on the right or left, who feels threatened due to the rising tensions in the capital.
Glick was in serious but stable condition at Shaare Zedek Medical Center after being shot by an assailant on a motorcycle upon leaving a conference in central Jerusalem Wednesday night. Feiglin also attended the conference, entitled “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount,” as did his fellow party member MK Miri Regev and Jewish Home’s Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs Eli Ben Dahan.
A suspect in the gun attack, identified by Israeli and Palestinian media as Mu’taz Hijazi, was killed in a shootout with police in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor Thursday morning.
The Temple Mount is jointly administered by the Jordanian government and the Jerusalem-based Islamic Waqf, an arrangement that has been in place since Israel captured the Old City and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed them. Proposed changes to the status quo at the Mount are often a source of unrest.
Under current rules, Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, but may visit in coordination with police.
Lawmakers have called for increased Jewish access to the site, while Palestinians officials have urged Arabs to “defend” the area, which is home to the Dome of the Rock shrine and al-Aqsa Mosque.
Netanyahu has said Israel plans no change to the status quo at the site.