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Israeli ‘freedom of worship’ bill allows Jewish settlers to pray in Al-Aqsa

A member of the Israeli Knesset representing the right-wing Jewish Home Party has submitted a bill that would allow Jewish settlers to pray in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Bezalel Smotrich’s bill was signed by five additional MKs from the Jewish Home and Likud parties.

Over the course of the past few months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that his government does not seek to divide Al-Aqsa along temporal, spacial and ethno-religious lines in a way that would allow Jews to pray in the Haram Al-Sharif.

Read: MKs vow to ‘legitimise’ Jewish prayer in Al-Aqsa

But Smotrich’s bill proves that Netanyahu’s reassurances do not reflect the reality on the ground.

The five MKs that signed the bill are Shuli Muallem-Refaeli and Nissan Slomiansky from the Jewish Home Party and Mickey Zohar, Avraham Nasoga, and Oren Hazan from the leading Likud Party, which is headed by Netanyahu.

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The bill seeks to allow “freedom of worship” for any person in any religious building. It proposes to add a “freedom of worship” clause to the current law on the protection of holy places that would provide for freedom of access to allow any person to worship anywhere.

Read: Jewish hate preacher issues ruling for prayers inside Al-Aqsa

Settlers have continuously stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in recent months, sparking the current Palestinian uprising.

MK Smotrich said last week that settlers’ arson attack on the Dawabsheh family, in which two young children, including an 18-month-old baby, and their parents were burned to death, does not constitute an act of terror.

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