Netanyahu Instructs Israeli Lawmakers to Avoid Visiting Temple Mount Due to Security Tensions

Likud MK Yehuda Glick decried the order, saying authorities must 'not surrender to terrorists'

Worshipers walk around before Friday prayers on the compound of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City.
\ AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS

Knesset members should refrain from visiting the Temple Mount over the next three months because of security tensions, the National Security Council at the Prime Minister's Office said on Thursday.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) announced the decision, citing recent statements by security officials.

"I'd like to bring your attention to the opinions of security officials who say that because of the current volatile security situation, Knesset members should refrain from visiting the Temple Mount for the foreseeable future," he said.

"For the responsibility of maintaining the security of Israeli citizens, we must all show restraint and patience despite any unpleasantness," he continued. "Those who wish to deviate from this policy must direct their queries to the National Security Headquarters, which is authorized to handle the matter."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made this decision earlier this week, a letter sent to Edelstein said, due to the "assessment of intelligence officials of the increased potential for explosive activity in Palestinian areas in the near future, following the recent exacerbation of tensions".

According to the directive, this restriction will remain in place until June 15, 2018, which marks the end of Ramadam.

MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) decried the decision, saying "It is unfortunate that the Knesset, instead of fighting for the protection of its members, cooperates with an illegal message by the Prime Minister disguised as a security order. When there is a security issue, the authorities must protect civilians and not surrender to terrorists. According to the state of Israel, Knesset members require more freedom of movement than regular citizens, not less."