Congressman Dr. Andrew Harris on Wednesday said he was “surprised” by the limited access for non-Muslims to the Har Habayis and the “discrimination against Jews” he witnessed during his visit, along with Congressman Ron DeSantis.
According to a video statement made during the visit on Wednesday, Harris said, “It’s a pleasure to be here on the Temple Mount, obviously an area of religious significance for many religions including Christians like myself, Jews and Muslims… but I’m actually surprised that access is so limited, and especially the discrimination against Jews above any other religion in visits to the Temple Mount.”
“It surprises me as an American, believing in religious freedom, that [such conditions]would exist,” Harris said.
The visit was coordinated by Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute, which described what happened, in a statement: “The group witnessed how outwardly looking Jewish groups are singled out and accompanied by both Jordan Islamic Waqf guards and Israeli police officers that scrutinize their behavior for signs of prayer or non-Muslim worship. In addition to the usual entourage, the Congressmen were also followed by an Israeli intelligence officer that filmed their every move for much of the visit.”
“Both were clearly moved by the experience and expressed concern at the lack of religious freedom for Jews and Christians at the site,” the Temple Institute said.
Harris and DeSantis, Republicans from Maryland and Florida, respectively, are in Israel as part of a week long visit organized by the Yes Israel Committee in conjunction with the YESHA Council, which represents the Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria.
Watch Congressman Harris give his impressions on the discrimination against Jews on the Temple Mount here.