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MK pushed by protester during Temple Mount visit

Police arrest suspect who allegedly attacked right-wing Jewish Home lawmaker Shuli Moalem-Refaeli

A Muslim woman on the Temple Mount allegedly pushed an Israeli lawmaker Monday and was arrested by police.

The visit by MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli of the nationalist Jewish Home party came as tensions over the site have ramped up in recent days. The visit was the second by a right-wing Knesset member since authorities reopened the site following the shooting of Rabbi Yehudah Glick, an activist who lobbied for increased Jewish rights in the compound, last week.

Ignoring a call from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for politicians to refrain from moves that could inflame tensions, Moalem visited the Mount under heavy police guard.

In a video posted to her Facebook page, she is seen being accosted by several women in Muslim garb, one of whom tries to push her before being grabbed by police.

“This morning when I went up to the Temple Mount, Muslim women attacked me, screaming “Allahu akbar,” and not because they were worried about the health of Rabbi Yehudah Glick,” Moalem-Refaeli wrote on Facebook.

Glick was shot four times in an attack by a Palestinian man in Jerusalem last Wednesday, prompting authorities to close the site to both Jews and Muslims for the first time in years.

Shuli Moalem-Rafaeli of the Jewish Home party (photo credit: Flash90/Miriam Alster)
Shuli Moalem-Rafaeli of the Jewish Home party (photo credit: Flash90/Miriam Alster)

Glick, hospitalized in serious condition as of Monday, urges that the site be opened up for Jewish prayer, currently banned under the status quo. The closure of the site for a day last Thursday, meant to head off unrest around the shooting and the killing of the gunman during an arrest operation, drew sharp condemnation from Palestinians and others.

Jewish visitors to the site, considered the holiest in Judaism, have in the past reported being harassed or attacked by Muslim worshipers, who see visits by non-Muslims as encroachment on their holy site.

“Nobody will take from me my basic democratic right to visit the Temple Mount and certainly not by violence,” Moalem wrote.

On Sunday, right-wing MK Moshe Feiglin, also a proponent of allowing Jewish prayer at the site, visited the compound.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on Sunday to preserve the status quo and not allow Jewish prayer at the site.

Three arrested for grave desecration

In a separate incident Monday, police arrested three residents of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of A-Tur for allegedly defacing gravestones on the Mount of Olives last month.

Police said that of the three suspects, ages 22, 15 and 12, the two minors admitted to smashing dozens of headstones and implicated others in the events in question as well as others.

The 12-year-old was given conditional release and transferred to social services, while the other two suspects were awaiting a remand hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

East Jerusalem has experienced near daily acts of rioting and violence for the past several months, since the murder of Palestinian teenager Muhammed Abu Khdeir at the hands of Jewish terrorists in late June, as an act of revenge for the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers that same month, and throughout the 50-day summer conflict with Hamas and other Gaza-based terror groups.

Israel has responded to the rise in violence by increasing its police presence, deploying an additional 1,000 officers to the city.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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