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Knesset member withdraws Temple Mount bill amid warnings

Labor Party Knesset member Hilik Bar, champion of the two-state solution, retracted his bill designed to organize prayer time slots for both Jews and Muslims on Temple Mount, after harsh reactions from both the Jordanian monarchy and the Shin Bet.
Palestinian girls walk up stairs near the Dome of the Rock (L) on a compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, in Jerusalem's Old City June 23, 2013. Far-right Israelis have stepped up efforts to hold Jewish prayers at the Jerusalem holy compound once dominated by Biblical temples and now home to al-Aqsa mosque, one of Islam's most revered sites. Picture taken June 23, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside (JERUSALEM - Tags: RELIGION CIVIL UNREST) - RTX10ZBH

When Labor Party Knesset member Yehiel (Hilik) Bar joined Likud Knesset member Miri Regev in sponsoring a bill granting freedom of movement, religion and worship on the Temple Mount to Jews and Arabs alike, he knew the initiative would not pass quietly. But it seems he underestimated its explosiveness and the extent of the commotion it would cause. The fuss did not die down even after he decided to draw back his support from the proposed legislation. It will likely require the intervention of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The storm, with the Jordanian monarchy one of its many eyes, erupted the morning of May 18 following a report of the proposed bill in the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth. Bar explained that he was proud to introduce such a bill, aimed at enabling Jews to exercise their freedom of worship at the holy site, which is limited nowadays. “I believe that the co-existence of Jews and Arabs begins with full equality on the Temple Mount, as well,” he said. By the way, a similar bill proposal was introduced in the past by right-wing members of the Knesset.

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