Radical right-wing Israeli activists gathered in Jerusalem on Monday, where speakers called for the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and the construction of a Temple.
The event, held on Mount Scopus, was attended by Likud parliamentarian Miki Zohar. According to an Israeli media report, this is the first time that a sitting member of the Knesset has taken part in the annual event.
Some 400 attendees observed a “a model Passover sacrifice ceremony” in full view of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and heard speeches from various political and religious figures.
Jerusalem city council member Arieh King, referring to the view of Al-Aqsa, stated: “We can see the abomination upon it and we need to wish that even in our days we won’t see it anymore and we’ll see there the altar, the Cohanim and Levi’im and we’ll see ourselves there.”
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute and former Knesset candidate for the outlwawed Kach party, said: “We came here to say we are preparing for when the day will come, when they will flatten the Temple Mount, clean everything out”, and “build the Temple.”
Likud MK Miki Zohar told the crowd that his “goal in the Knesset is to protect and strengthen the Jewish idea in the State of Israel. Strengthening this principle is an integral aspect of my work, because this is the only way to justify our rights to this land.”
In an interview last year, Zohar said Palestinians must “admit and understand that the Jewish People have a right to this country and no one else does”, and that even Palestinian citizens in the Knesset must “recognize that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel, meaning the Jewish People.”
According to an article in Ha’aretz last October, “Temple Mount activists have made serious inroads in both the Knesset and the government, particularly in Likud.” Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, for example, has previously called for a Third Temple to be built on Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
A recent International Crisis Group report described how, “as the Israeli political conversation increasingly emphasises Jewish identity, and religious Zionists strengthen within both its governing coalitions and the ruling Likud Party, Temple activists advocating expanded Jewish rights on the Esplanade gain more traction among the Jewish public.”