Kafe Knesset for March 28
Is the Temple Mount heating up again? The Temple Mount is back in the headlines, with Prime Minister Netanyahu saying he will no longer prohibit politicians from visiting Judaism’s holiest site – but only in three months, after Ramadan. Likud MK Yehudah Glick, a prominent activist for Jews to have equal rights on the Temple Mount, where only Muslims are currently allowed to pray, who survived an assassination attempt by a Palestinian man calling him an “enemy of Al-Aksa” (the mosque on the Mount), would be expected to rejoice, but he wants to be able to ascend the Mount now. Only days after lamenting that Netanyahu has refused to meet with him for even one minute, Glick petitioned the High Court of Justice in a suit against the premier, The suit seeks to allow MK Glick to be allowed to visit Judaism’s holiest site as soon as possible. “I don’t understand why we need three more unnecessary months for the Mount to be open to MKs and why I and my colleagues are prevented from fulfilling the mitzvah of ascending the Mount,” he stated.
Unsurprisingly, Glick wasn’t the only one to be unhappy with the announcement. Joint List MKs continued arguing that when they visit the Mount, it’s perfectly legitimate, but when Jews do it, it’s a provocation. They do this by calling the entire Temple Mount a mosque, even though the structure only takes up a portion of the Temple Mount area, Arab children play soccer on other parts of it, and on any given day, the area is littered with trash. “The Al-Aksa Mosque is a mosque for Muslim prayer only,” the Joint List’s Ahmed Tibi argued. “The ones who are provoking and inciting are the friends and supporters of Netanyahu, a group of right-wing politicians who enter the mosque’s territory and provoke in a way that can escalate the situation.”
The Bayit Yehudi primary plot thickens: Is Bayit Yehudi’s leadership primary finally getting interesting? Officially, no. It remains Naftali Bennett as the assured front-runner, versus several unknowns. But it someone is trying to shake things up. Bayit Yehudi activist Yossi Fuchs ordered a poll from Smith Consulting checking the party’s prospects with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at the helm, and found that Bayit Yehudi would get three more seats in the Knesset (15) than if Bennett remained in charge (12), as reported by Army Radio. Support for those three additional seats come from secular voters, and as Fuchs pointed out, Bennett has said that to grow, the party has to appeal to non-Orthodox Israelis. Shaked has said she won’t run against Bennett, though in recent weeks she did say she wants to be the prime minister after Bennett. Fuchs, by the way, is a former Likud activist like Shaked, but unlike her, he failed to get on to the Bayit Yehudi Knesset list, after a failed primary run.
Bennett trolling Netanyahu from DC: While his party’s activists are working to dethrone him, Bennett is engaging in some A+ twitter trolling during his trip to the US with a series of tweets Netanyahu probably won’t like. Earlier this week, Bennett and Trump special envoy, Jason Greenblatt, tweeted each other’s praises. Yesterday, Bennett tweeted a photo of himself taking a selfie with Tzipi Livni, saying that it’s a sign of peace in the Middle East. Finally, last night, Bennett tweeted a picture of himself with Buji Herzog, all smiles on the tarmac, with the caption “Love in the Sky” – the Hebrew title of the movie “Top Gun.” Is Bennett riding into the Danger Zone?