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Temple Mount Ban Lifted For Israeli Lawmakers

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A ban on all Israeli lawmakers visiting the Temple Mount was lifted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said in a letter to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein that all lawmakers, including government ministers, will be permitted to visit the Temple Mount once every three months.

The decision comes a week after Likud lawmaker Yehuda Glick, who in 2014 was shot and nearly killed by a Palestinian terrorist over his Temple Mount activism, asked Netanyahu to let Jewish lawmakers resume visiting the Mount. In his request, Glick pointed out that Muslim lawmakers had visited the site during Ramadan, Haaretz reported.

In November 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered lawmakers to stay off the Temple Mount amid a wave of Palestinian terrorism linked to claims that Israel was trying to change the status quo. Israel denied the claims. After Glick filed a petition against the ban, Netanyahu last July decided to allow lawmakers to visit the site on a trial basis.

However, on July 14, 2017, before the decision went into effect, three Arab Israelis shot dead two policemen on the Temple Mount. Israel responded by suspending the plan and installing walk-through metal detectors at the Muslim entrances to the site. Amid prayer sessions, riots and regional pressure, Israel eventually removed the metal detectors. But the ban on visits by lawmakers remained in place.

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