Congressmen Scott Tipton (R-Co) and Congressman David B. McKinley (R-WV) where detained by Israeli police Thursday morning for picking up an olive branch on the Temple Mount (For an interview with the visiting lawmakers check out Detained Congressmen’s Visit Had Been: Capital, Sovereignty, Security).
The two American lawmakers who are on a week-long, fact-finding mission hosted by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations and Jaffe Strategies, which reported the incident, ascended to the Temple Mount with a group of Jewish visitors led by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute.
After picking up an olive branch that was lying on the ground, the Islamic Waqf guard accompanying their group complained to the Police escort, and the congressmen, who are both in their 70s, were physically removed from the Temple Mount, told they were being detained (me-ukav in Hebrew), frisked and detained for more than ten minutes at the Temple Mount police station.
Police continued to frisk the two dignitaries despite warnings from the Jewish visitors that their next stop that same morning was a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu. They were released eventually and met with the Prime Minister, with whom they raise the issue of freedom of expression and their experiences on the Temple Mount.
Im Tirtzu Director of Policy Alon Schvartzer responded to the detention of the two US Congressmen by Israeli police on the Temple Mount in a statement, saying: “The situation on the Temple Mount has reached a new low. This is a disgraceful reality that has long crossed the point of absurdity, and we cannot allow it to continue.”
“Israel must remember that it has the sovereignty over the Temple Mount, and not the Waqf. The time has come to provide freedom of worship to Jews, Christians and all those who wish to worship peacefully on the Temple Mount.”