Police Close to Lifting Ban on Israeli Lawmakers' Visits to the Temple Mount

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein has reached a deal with police to reopen the compound to Muslim MKs during Ramadan, and to Jewish legislators later on as long as calm prevails.

Reuters

Israeli police are soon expected to lift an eight-month ban on Israeli lawmakers' visits to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City. Israeli Arab lawmakers who are Muslims are likely to be permitted resume these visits within the coming week for Ramadan prayers.

Jewish MKs may be permitted to follow suit within a couple of weeks, depending on the situation, according to an understanding reached by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein with the police.

Edelstein met last week with Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich and Jerusalem District Commander Maj. Gen. Yoram Halevy after Muslim MKs asked to be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, the site of al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest place, during Ramadan.

Alsheich said there was no reason not to renew these visits banned since November at the height of a wave of violence in the city, when it was feared that lawmakers on the left and the right could further inflame the tensions.  

The Knesset Ethics Committee will meet on Tuesday to amend the pertinent directives so that the ban may be lifted.  

Edelstein had announced 10 days ago that he intended to approve the request from Muslim MKs to pray on the Temple Mount.

MK Talab Abu Arar (Joint List) threatened then to visit the holy site during Ramadan regardless of whether the ban was lifted.