Knesset Sergeant-at-Arms Yosef Grif urged Arab lawmakers to uphold the ban on MKs from visiting the Temple Mount in Jerusalem`s Old City.

In a letter sent to MK Masud Ganaim on Wednesday, Grif addressed an announcement by a group of MKs from the Joint List faction that they intend to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Ramadan fast. Grif wrote that he wished to remind them that on April 14, 2016 Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich announced a renewed open-ended ban on Israeli lawmakers visiting the Temple Mount.

The directive was issued in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Alsheich wrote: “In light of attempts by many extremist elements from both sides to create provocations… I surmise that at this time, ascent to the Temple Mount by Knesset members is likely to result in an exacerbation of tensions and an escalation of incidents that would cause a real endangerment of the security of the state.”

Knesset Sergeant-at-Arms urges Arab MKs to uphold Temple Mount visitation ban

(Al-Aqsa Mosque)

Grif also asked to remind the MKs of the Ethics Committee`s decision from November 2, 2015 which stated that, until further notice, visiting the Temple Mount will be considered an ethics violation that carries sanctions. The decision was reached in light of a letter from then-acting police commissioner Asst.-Ch. Bentzi Sau to Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein calling to ban lawmakers from the holy site, because such visits “will increase the tension on the Mount… which in all likelihood would have an effect on the security situation of the entire country.”

Grif wrote: ”I ask that you refrain from violating the aforementioned ban.”