The Knesset Ethics Committee on Tuesday reprimanded MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List) Arab List) for visiting the Temple Mount without the required coordination with police.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) complained to the committee in August, after MK Tibi had been caught on police cameras at the holy site in Jerusalem.
In his complaint, Minister Erdan wrote that MK Tibi’s visit “did not happen during a calm and serene time and was not made privately and discretely, rather in an overt and demonstrative way, as a clear provocation in a sensitive and stormy time, after the Mount had been closed following the horrible terrorist attack that took place there.”
Minister Erdan was referring to an attack by Israeli Arabs who murdered three police officers at the compound.
Minister Erdan told the committee he had no doubt Tibi’s visit “endangered the public welfare and security, and could have incited others to commit violent acts.”
MKs have not been allowed to ascend the Temple Mount since October 2015, on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s orders, for security reasons.
The Ethics Committee upheld the Prime Minister’s decision, and later allowed legislators to visit the holy site, provided that they coordinate their actions with the police.
In response to the complaint, MK Tibi said that the prohibition to enter Al-Aqsa mosque is “illegal in connection to Arab and Muslim MKs, because it harms my constitutional right as a Muslim to freedom of worship.”
“Preventing a Member of Knesset from visiting the mosque, while the mosque is open to worshippers, must lean on concrete evidence indicating that the personal visit by the Member of Knesset endangers public safety and the security of the state,” Tibi argued.
The Ethics Committee, headed by MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), noted that the in its most recent decision, the committee lifted the comprehensive prohibition on the entry of MKs to the Temple Mount, and permitted it in coordination with Israel Police and in accordance with police instructions.
“The end result shows that MK Tibi’s entry to the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque did bring about the realization of the concern [relayed by] the Minister of Public Security,” the committee said in its decision. “However, once the Ethics Committee publishes its decision, even if some Members of Knesset find it unacceptable, all Members of Knesset must honor it.”
The Ethics Committee’s full ruling stated: “A majority of the committee members are of the opinion that by entering the Temple Mount without prior coordination with police, MK Tibi violated the rule of ethics according to which a Member of Knesset Shall preserve the dignity of the Knesset, and the dignity of its Members, shall conduct himself in a manner that corresponds with his status as a Member of the Knesset, and shall avoid making inappropriate use of the immunities and rights legally bestowed on him as a Member of the Knesset.”