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Ta’al head Tibi: Any change to Temple Mount status quo ‘will ignite’ Mideast

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Jiont List MK Ahmad Tibi speaks during Haaretz Conference at Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa, June 16, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Jiont List MK Ahmad Tibi speaks during Haaretz Conference at Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa, June 16, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Ta’al party leader Ahmad Tibi cautions that any change to the sensitive status quo on Jerusalem’s flashpoint Temple Mount “will ignite” the Middle East.

The holiest site Jerusalem’s Old City is the holiest in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam. All are permitted to visit at select times but only Muslims may pray at the site also known as Haram al-Sharif, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“Any attempt to harm or change the status quo in the mosque or any meter of the plaza will ignite” the Middle East, he says at the outset of the Hadash-Ta’al faction meeting.

Echoing remarks made by Hadash leader Ayman Odeh, Tibi calls the expected incoming right-religious coalition “fascist” and says it’s line with the legacy of ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane.

“Kahanism and fascism have become official” in Israel’s halls of power, Tibi says.

Both Tibi and Odeh highlight far-right politicians Bezalel Smotrich from Religious Zionism and Itamar Ben Gvir from Otzma Yehudit as the face of the change.

Promising to continue their role as a “fighting opposition,” Tibi says that while concerning, the far-right politicians’ ideology is a “Jewish problem.”

“We’ll get over the fascism of Smotrich and Ben Gvir, its not just an Arab problem, its mostly a Jewish problem,” the Ta’al head says.

A majority-Arab alliance, Hadash-Ta’al is staunchly against Israel’s continued control of the West Bank and ties the continued situation to the rise of the far-right duo.

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