JERUSALEM (JTA) – Right-wing lawmakers who want to change the status quo on the Temple Mount should not be allowed to visit the site, the Israel Police commissioner said.
Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino on Tuesday called Israel Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein’s decision to allow lawmaker Moshe Feiglin and other lawmakers to visit the Temple Mount earlier this month a “mistake.” Danino said Feiglin was “a symbol of changing the status quo.”
Danino’s remarks came Tuesday at the Sderot Conference for Society at Sapir College.
“We want quiet and we want to restore security,” Danino said. “We’re always saying, ‘Let’s do everything we can to keep the situation from deteriorating.’ We keep coming back to the Temple Mount. This place is holy to many religions, and we are supposed to maintain the status quo in order to maintain quiet there.”
He said to the right-wing lawmakers: “We say leave the Temple Mount alone.”
In a response posted on his Facebook page, Feiglin said: “Danino failed to protect Jerusalem and to safeguard the personal security of the city’s residents, and now he is trying to find a scapegoat and excuses for his failure.”
The post continued: “I have been going to pray at the Temple Mount, legally, every month for the past 15 years. This is the legal, national, religious and moral duty of every Jew. I suggest that Danino concentrate on ensuring the safety of Jerusalem residents and Israeli citizens, and spend less time taking part in panels and conferences and trying to evade responsibility.”
Danino said police are working extra-long shifts and have canceled vacations in order to avoid the escalation of violence in Jerusalem.