Arab-Israeli lawmaker attacks Jewish visitors to Temple Mount

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Muslim mob led by an Arab-Israeli lawmaker verbally attacked Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, as violence from the holy site spilled over in to the West Bank.

Jamal Zahalka, a Knesset member from the Arab Joint List, on Tuesday accosted Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, in an exchange captured on camera.

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“Crazy criminals, you’re all Kahanists, fascists, racists, get out of here, you hurt Muslims,” he shouted.

“This is not yours, get out of here, go home, you’re not wanted,” he also shouted.

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Kahanist refers to followers of the Jewish ultranationalist leader Meir Kahane.

The altercation came on the second day of the Jewish holiday of Succot, and following two days of clashes between Israel Police and security forces and Muslim protesters on the site.

Israel Police began banning Muslim worshippers under the age of 50 from the site after protesters began amassing rocks and other weapons in preparation for more violence.

Avigdor Liberman, the head of the right-wing opposition Yisrael Beytenu party called for security officials to forcefully quell the rioting on the Temple Mount and called for Zahalka to be put on trial for attacking Jews and Israeli forces. He also said in a statement that Zahalka “should know that not only is the Temple Mount not his home or the home of his friends, but that the State of Israel in general is not their home.”

Israel Police early on Tuesday morning arrested seven Palestinians suspected of rioting on the Temple Mount, as well as two women accused of attacking Jews in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Meanwhile, Israel Defense Forces soldiers clashed in areas of the West Bank with Palestinian rioters, protesting against the violence on the Temple Mount. Protesters near Ramallah in the northern West Bank threw rocks and firebombs at Israeli soldiers. Protests also took place in Bethlehem, Hebron, and Tulkaram.

Israeli police have clashed with Muslim protesters in and around the Temple Mount in recent weeks.  past two weeks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will maintain the status quo on the Temple Mount, under which Jews are allowed to enter the site but are not allowed to pray.

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