Palestinian convicted of assaulting MK during Temple Mount visit
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Palestinian convicted of assaulting MK during Temple Mount visit

Shuli Mualem-Refaeli was taking a tour of the Temple Mount in 2014 when a Palestinian woman shoved and shouted her down

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli from the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party speaks in front of the Knesset. October 31, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli from the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party speaks in front of the Knesset. October 31, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A Palestinian woman was convicted on Sunday of assaulting an Israeli legislator during the Knesset member’s November 2014 visit to the Temple Mount.

The indictment from the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court said Sahar Natshe shouted “go away” and “Allahu Akbar” as she pushed Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home), in an attempt to prevent the MK from entering the compound.

Footage from the incident does not show Natshe making contact with Moalem-Refaeli, but the Palestinian woman can be heard screaming, along with a number of other women, at the Israeli legislator who continues walking across the compound, unfazed.

Following the October 2014 attempted assassination of Temple Mount activist (and current Likud MK) Yehuda Glick, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his intention to maintain the status quo at the compound. Lawmakers have been prevented from visiting the holy site since October 2015.

The flashpoint Temple Mount, which is administrated by the Jordanian authorities, is the holiest site in Judaism, revered by Jews as the site where the biblical Temples stood.

Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary and believe it is the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. It is the third holiest site in Islam and houses the Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine.

Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel attends the 14th annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group, on February 12, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel attends the 14th annual Jerusalem Conference of the ‘Besheva’ group, on February 12, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Palestinians have frequently charged that Israel is trying to change longstanding understandings, in place since 1967, under which Jews are allowed to visit, but not pray at, the site.

On February 1, police denied the request of Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) to visit the complex, just one day after the Knesset Ethics Committee voted to lift a ban prohibiting lawmakers from visiting the compound.

According to the Knesset committee decision, lawmakers may now visit the Temple Mount so long as they coordinate the trip ahead of time and receive permission from the police.

Ariel claimed that Netanyahu had personally ordered security officials to continue implementing the ban, despite the committee’s ruling.

In November 2015, the same committee decided to ban visits to the complex from both Jewish and Arab MKs. The prohibition was upheld again in June 2016 before being lifted on January 31.

Likud MK Yehuda Glick attends a conference on the topic of strengthening the relationship between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, held at the Knesset on November 7, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Likud MK Yehuda Glick attends a conference on the topic of strengthening the relationship between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount, held at the Knesset on November 7, 2016. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

In January, Palestinian officials demanded an apology from new United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after he said it was “completely clear that the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple.”

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