Former Likud lawmaker Yehudah Glick was detained on Tuesday on the Temple Mount after failing to coordinate his visit with the police, who said they had acted to avert any provocation at the site.
Glick had accompanied two U.S. congressmen to the compound where ancient Jewish temples once stood and which is currently the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam's holiest sites.
The police said that Glick has visited the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's Old City, a few times a week in the past few months, "and almost every visit included a provocation that more than once led to other visitors avoiding joining his group.”
Police said further that Glick's visit with the congressmen had “ended without any unusual incidents,” but that later he returned to the Temple Mount and “entered without coordination with the police.”
They said he “began walking around on the Temple Mount in violation of the accepted visitation rules of the site, which he knows from his previous visits. He refused to follow the police officers’ instructions and accompany them, while continuing to provoke them, which forced them to detain him.”
The police officers “were forced to inform him that he was under arrest,” the police said. “But he continued in his actions, which forced the officers to handcuff him. He was released from the handcuffs while he was still on the Temple Mount and was accompanied by police officers to be questioned.”
Temple Mount activists say Glick was arrested for walking too slowly, and refused to follow the orders from police officers to walk faster.
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Religious Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount must follow the instructions of the police officers accompanying them, and are not allowed to wander around the site freely. Occasionally police officers arrest Temple Mount activists who violate these rules.
In video clips of Glick filmed before his arrest, police can be seen trying to speed him up, while he is walking slowly and at the same time reading or writing on his cellphone.
The headquarters of the Temple Mount organizations said they felt that Arabs they accuse of provoking violence ought not to be allowed to move around there freely and that Jewish visitors were forced to take fixed routes under guard, and sometimes innocent people are arrested based on what they see as discriminatory rules. It urged political leaders to see to freer movement for Jews at the holy site.