Likud MK urges police to allow High Holiday prayer at Temple Mount

Miri Regev says right to ascend to holy site is ‘neither political nor religious’ issue

Religious Jews visiting the Temple Mount, March 27, 2013. (photo credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90)
Religious Jews visiting the Temple Mount, March 27, 2013. (photo credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90)

The police should prepare for the arrival at the Temple Mount of Jewish worshippers and tourists during the upcoming High Holidays, MK Miri Regev (Likud) urged on Sunday.

Speaking at a meeting of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, which she chairs, Regev led a discussion on police readiness and deployment at the site ahead of and during the planned events.

Leading public and religious figures present also questioned the police’s recent restrictions of Jewish prayer at the holy site during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Regev, a vocal advocate of expanding Jewish rights to pray at the site, claimed at the meeting that the state should do away with regulation of prayer at the Temple Mount, regardless of the religious affiliation of those seeking to pray.

MK Miri Regev participates in Knesset committee in May. (photo credit: Uri Lenz/FLASH90)
MK Miri Regev (photo credit: Uri Lenz/FLASH90)

“The issue of the Temple Mount is neither political nor religious,” Regev said. “The rights of Jews visiting the Temple Mount should be no different than those of the Palestinians.”

Regev went on to criticize the police for imposing restrictions on non-Muslim entry to the mount during Ramadan, and to request that police officials outline their plans to prepare for the High Holidays at the site.

Last month, the Jerusalem Police closed the Temple Mount to Jewish and Christian visitors in an effort to prevent clashes between different religious groups.

The closure order came on Tisha B’Av, the Jewish day of mourning that marks the destruction of the Jewish temples that stood at the site, which this year fell during Ramadan, when many Muslims pray at the Dome of the Rock.

“Security assessments were made, and the decision was made by the Israel Police to close the Temple Mount to all visitors, in order to prevent disturbances,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Times of Israel after the site’s closing in July.

At the meeting’s conclusion, Regev bemoaned the fact that no representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office were present at the discussion and urged them to attend the next discussion on the subject.

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