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Knesset lawmaker Regev nixes her committee’s visit to Temple Mount

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Likud lawmaker Miri Regev canceled a planned Knesset committee visit to the Temple Mount at the request of police.

Regev on Wednesday nixed the visit by the Interior Committee, which she leads.

“The issue of prayer arrangements on the Temple Mount and the holy places is of the utmost sensitivity and it requires a thorough examination,” Regev said, according to the Times of Israel. “That said, if the planned visit has the potential to increase tension, I’m not going to go ahead with it.”

Regev was elected head of the committee in mid-April and announced that she would lead the committee on a visit to the Temple Mount and examine the possibility of allowing the resumption of Jewish prayer at the holy site.

Jews generally are not permitted to pray or bring any ritual objects to the Temple Mount, which is considered Judaism’s holiest site, in order to avoid confrontation with Muslim worshipers at the Al-Aksa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site. The site is overseen by the Muslim Wakf, the Muslim religious administration charged with managing the Temple Mount site.

Meanwhile, Likud lawmaker Moshe Feiglin said Wednesday that he had suspended himself from voting with the coalition in response to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ordering him not to ascend the Temple Mount. He explained his decision in a lengthy Facebook post.

“I have nothing against the Likud or the coalition but we cannot accept dictates from the Wakf. As soon as I am allowed back on the mount, I will return to being the most active MK,” Feiglin said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

The Wakf warned the Prime Minister’s Office on April 28 that a planned visit  from Feiglin the following day would touch off “World War Three,” the Jewish Press reported, citing a “source close to Feiglin.”

Feiglin had planned to visit the Temple Mount on Monday, the 19th of the Hebrew month of Iyar, as he does on the 19th of every Hebrew month.

In March, Israel Police prevented Feiglin from visiting the Temple Mount on the second day of Passover after learning that hundreds of Arabs planned to protest the visit.

The lawmaker had coordinated his visit in advance with security officials. Earlier in the same month, Feiglin was prevented from entering the Dome of the Rock and then removed from the Temple Mount. He had asked to be allowed to enter the Dome of the Rock in his capacity as a Knesset member.

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