Danino Vows to Ban Nationalist MKs from Ascending Temple Mount

November 28, 2014  

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino has hit back at Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) Friday, after Edelstein stated Wednesday that Danino is “not suited” to give advice over issues relating to the Temple Mount and parliamentary immunity.

“Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein does not understand at all what the role of the commissioner [entails],” Danino said Friday, at an event in Ashkelon.

”I think we have some Knesset members who set an agenda to change the status quo on the Temple Mount,” he reiterated. “Not only do I not retract the things I said, but I add the announcement that I will not allow these Knesset members to visit the Temple Mount.”

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, where they are banned from praying by the Jordanian Waqf.

“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 (Likud MK Moshe) 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 visitors, despite the fact that Israeli law guarantees religious freedoms, meaning the police enforcement of Waqf directives opposes the law.

Edelstein responded Wednesday by asking Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich to reprimand Danino over the remarks. 

“These things are serious and do not deserve to be decided upon by a Police Commissioner [Yohanan Danino – ed.] regarding [the freedoms of] elected officials,” Edelstein wrote. “We cannot agree to this, whereby a public official – who is supposed to be a senior authority – appeals against the freedom of movement given to elected officials and their immunity by virtue of their status, including on the Temple Mount.”

“It is not his job to give them such advice,” he added. 

“The current wave of terror, like its predecessors, is an expression of hatred, incitement and and calls to violence which has affected large parts of the Palestinian population,” he continued. “Interest in the Temple Mount is, for them is an excuse for attacks and riots. The increase of Jews ascending the Mount, including a public figure, is not a ‘provocation’ and certainly not a violation of the status quo, as those who try to spin it that way claim; just as Arab MKs ascending to the Mount is not.” 

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