On Jerusalem Day, which honors the reunification of Israel’s capital during the Six-Day War in 1967, several Knesset members went to the Temple Mount.
Amit Halevi, Ariel Kallner, and Dan Illouz, MKs for the Likud Party, climbed the Mount on Thursday morning.
Former MK Shulamit Mualem-Rafaeli of the Jewish Home and New Right party joined the lawmakers. During their tour, they sang “Hatikvah,” Israel’s national anthem.
Illouz tweeted in which he quoted Isaiah 27:13, saying, “And they shall come who were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
“The Temple Mount is the holiest location for Jews, and I consider it a great honor to return here for the first time as a Knesset member.
I prayed to God for the nation of Israel to be united and for the State of Israel to be prosperous.
According to Kallner, Jerusalem Day is also “a day celebrating Zion since Zion is the foundation of Zionism, and Zion is here, on this Mount, in this location.
It is something that the Jewish people have yearned for for millennia. I felt it was crucial to communicate that relationship.
The MKs were guided on their tour by Arnon Segal, a tour guide with the NGO Beyadenu, which promotes Jewish visits to the Temple Mount.
Itamar Ben-Gvir, the national security minister from the Otzma Yehudit Party, and Yitzhak Wasserlauf, the minister for the development of the periphery, the Negev, and the Galilee, both from Otzma Yehudit, visited the Temple Mount earlier in the day.
Several people objected to the MKs’ Temple Mount visit. The visit of “a member of the Israeli government,” “several members of the Knesset,” and “extremists under the protection of the Israeli police,” according to Jordan’s Foreign Ministry, was criticized.
It was also said that “Israel has no sovereignty over the holy places” and that “East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian land.”
A statement from the Arab Knesset faction Hadash-Ta’al stated: “A thousand hate parades, police officers, and delusional ‘flag dances’ will not erase the truth that East Jerusalem and the West Bank are under brutal occupation. Not ‘united,’ but occupied by force in Jerusalem.
The coalition also criticized the visit as a whole. Because it would violate the Mount’s sanctity, United Torah Party Chairman Moshe Gafni pleaded with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to forbid elected politicians from visiting it.
Religious Zionists and ultra-Orthodox Jews have generally disagreed on Temple Mount visits, with the former believing it illegal.
In opposition to the visit on this specific day, Likud MK David Bitan expressed security concerns and claimed that Netanyahu “could have called them and told them, ‘Don’t go up.'”
The annual flag parade, the day’s main event, which sees thousands of people march from the city center through the Damascus Gate of the Old City and onto the Western Wall, was underway while Jerusalem police made preparations.
Tensions were high in the capital during this time.