(JTA) – An often-controversial Arab Israeli Knesset member said Jews have no proven historical connection to the Temple Mount and no reason to visit it. In an interview Friday, Oct. 2 in a Hebrew-language publication, Joint Arab List MK Hanin Zoabi said, “The name is al-Aqsa, not the Temple Mount, and there is nothing there for Jews,” the Times of Israel reported. Al-Aqsa is the name of a mosque located on the Temple Mount, a compound in Jerusalem’s Old City. The compound, which has experienced considerable tension and violence in recent months, is the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest site in Islam.
Zoabi, who is Muslim, has made many controversial comments during her political career and was barred from running in the last election because of her alleged extremist views, before the Supreme Court overturned the decision. In Friday’s interview she said the Temple Mount, which is adjacent to the Western Wall, is “a place for Muslims only, according to all the agreements signed after the occupation of Jerusalem, and the agreements between Jordan and Israel. “When a reporter asked if she acknowledges that the Jewish First and Second Temples once stood on the site, Zoabi said the Temple “is not part of the political reality in which we live.” She added that “the existence of the Temple is not verified scientifically.”