MK: Why Shouldn't Jews Pray on Temple Mount?

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- For decades, Jews and Christians have been prohibited from praying on the Temple Mount, but a new Israeli parliamentarian thinks that should change.

Newly appointed head of the Knesset Interior and Environmental Committees, Likud MK Miri Regev, says it's not right to prohibit Jews from praying on the Temple Mount.

Regev, 48, married with three children, served as a brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces.

"I don't understand why a Jew is not allowed to pray in the most sacred place for him -- the Temple Mount," Regev said in statement Wednesday.

The new committee chairwoman says she plans to tour the Temple Mount, where the First and Second Jewish Temples once stood, in the near future.

Warnings by left-wing politicians that such statements will undermine peace talks and could spark a third intifada don't seem to have deterred the former general.

The Islamic trust (Waqf), responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Temple Mount, prohibits anyone but Muslims from praying there.

During the Jordanian occupation from 1948 to the 1967 Six-Day War, Jews were prohibited from entering the Old City.

When Jerusalem was reunited under Israeli sovereignty, the government cleaned up the area in front of the Western Wall and built the Western Wall Plaza, where Jews come to pray every day.

Israel Police, responsible for security on the Temple Mount and the Western Wall below, keep a close watch on the area.

From time to time, Muslim worshippers riot on the Temple Mount and some throw rocks on the Jews down below.

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