Photo Credit: Hillel Maeir / TPS
Joint Arab List faction MK Ahmed Tibi in the Knesset (seated)

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has accused Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi of endangering the public by ignoring a ban by the prime minister against lawmakers visiting the Temple Mount.

Erdan filed a complaint against Tibi with the Knesset Ethics Committee over a visit to the holy site this past July.

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Tibi deliberately ascended to the Temple Mount during the violent aftermath of a vicious terror attack carried out by three Israeli Arab operatives who murdered two Israeli police officers using weapons smuggled into the holy site.

“There is no doubt that Tibi’s ascension to the Mount, which he was aware the Ethics Committee had established was prohibited, endangered public safety and security and could have incited and provoked others to carry out violent acts in response,” Erdan wrote in the complaint, Israel’s Channel 2 television news reported Monday.

“Tibi’s actions should be treated with particular severity in light of the fact they were committed at the height of the tensions and a few days after a reminder was sent by the Knesset speaker of the existence of the ban.”

In a filmed response, Tibi said that as a Muslim he has a “right” to visit the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount “whenever I want.” He added that “the order from the prime minister or the police to prevent Muslim Knesset members from entering the Al Aqsa Mosque is irresponsible and illegal.”

Senior police officials had asked Erdan to act because they had no authority to deal with the lawmaker when he violated the ban on lawmakers ascending to the site, noting that Tibi’s visit further inflamed the already tense atmosphere.

The MK claimed, however, that police were “inciting” Erdan to file the complaint and said “This is the same police [force] that closes cases [and] doesn’t recommend filing indictments against those who shot Arab citizens, killed them or murdered them… therefore there is a double standard.”

Tibi called a visit to the Temple Mount by MKs Yehuda Glick (Likud) and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli this past August – during a one-day “trial” by the prime minister’s office – a “provocation.” A ban by the prime minister on Israeli lawmakers visiting the holy site has been in place since October 2015.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.