Danino Not Backing Down from Temple Mount Statements

November 26, 2014  

A spokesman for the Israel Police clarified on Wednesday evening that Commissioner Yohanan Danino, when criticizing MKs who visit the Temple Mount, did not direct his comments at all the MKs.

At the same time, the spokesman reiterated that Danino did not intend to back down from his remarks.

“Anyone reading the full text of what was said realizes that the remarks did not refer to all members of the Knesset, but only to MKs who accompany their visit to the Temple Mount with reports in the media and on Facebook,” said the spokesman.

He explained that those MKs “make a statement of intent regarding a change in the law and the existing arrangements on the Temple Mount, and as such are considered by extremists as a symbol of change in the status quo.”

“The specific reference to MK Moshe Feiglin was just an example of a case in which the Police Commissioner used his authority to restrict entry to the Temple Mount, for the same reasons.”

The statement clarified that not only is Danino not taking his comments back, but “on the contrary, he believes that it is his duty to repeat and make it clear that such behavior – even if by members of the Knesset – could endanger public safety and security, and that he does not intend to approve it.”

On Tuesday, Danino made a series of statements opposing visits to the Temple Mount, sparking outrage over his support for the continued discrimination against Jews visiting the Mount. 

“Anyone who wants to change the status-quo on the Temple Mount – it (should be) forbidden for him to go up there,” Danino said at a conference in Sderot. “I banned Feiglin from ascending the Mount until I had no backing from the attorney general. This is a mistake, to allow someone who is a symbol of (the movement to) change the status-quo.”

“We want quiet and to restore security,” he continued. “We are saying all the time ‘let’s do everything to not escalate the situation.’ Again and again we go back to the Temple Mount – this is a place holy to many religions and we say to guard the status quo in order to guard the quiet there.”

Muslims are permitted to pray on the Mount – which is Judaism’s holiest site – while restrictions are placed on Jewish worshippers.

On Wednesday, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) sent a letter to Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich in which he asked that Danino be reprimanded for his remarks.

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