Itongadol.- Republican US Presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump is strongly considering a visit to the Temple Mount when he comes to Israel for the first time at the end of the month.
Exclusive: Trump planning Temple Mount visit
A source closely connected to organizing the trip to Israel confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that Trump\’s staff is looking into the logistics of visiting the holy site and point of conflict between Israel and the Arab world.
The planned visit follows Trump\’s call for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country\’s representatives can figure out what is going on" in light of "great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population."
Palestinians have often used Israeli politicians\’ visits to the Mount as an excuse for violence, falsely claiming Israel is changing the status quo.
The government maintains the status quo, in that non-Muslims may visit, but not pray on the Temple Mount, which is administered by the Jordanian Islamic Trust (Wakf). Jewish visitors are often harassed at the holy site, and earlier this year, a delegation of US Congressmen visiting the plaza also complained of harassment by Wakf guards.
Palestinian claims about the Temple Mount reached a fever pitch in recent months, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas claiming Jews\’ feet defile the site, and contributed to sparking the current wave of terrorism, during which police found explosives hidden in the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Mount.
As part of his visit to Israel, on December 28, Trump will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The meeting was planned two weeks ago.
A source close to Netanyahu said on Wednesday that the prime minister "does not agree with every statement by every candidate."
Netanyahu\’s spokesman confirmed that the prime minister is willing to meet with any US presidential candidate who visits Israel.
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On called for Netanyahu not to meet with Trump, calling the meeting a "slap in the face to Muslim citizens of Israel."
"It is embarrassing that Netanyahu is willing to legitimize Trump as a reasonable candidate who is worth a meeting with a head of state," Gal-On said. "Netanyahu\’s willingness to meet with Trump despite his serious racist statements authorizes what the prime minister\’s statements showed about him long ago: That there has never been such a racist, irresponsible prime minister."
Trump has not asked to go to the Knesset during his trip to Israel, but that did not stop several MKs from saying he should be banned from the legislature because of his comments about Muslims.
"As far as it depends on me, this racist Donald Trump should not be welcome in the Knesset," MK Omer Bar-Lev (Zionist Union) tweeted.
MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) wrote on twitter: "I asked [Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein" to ban neo-Nazi Trump and all Trumps from entering [the] Knesset, though his statements are not strange to some racists in [the] Knesset."