Israel considers ban for far-right candidate over gaffe on blowing up shrine
An Israeli panel weighed a request on Sunday to disqualify a candidate of a powerful far-right party from running in a January 22 election for alluding in a speech to the possibility of seeing one of Islam’s holiest shrines in Jerusalem “blown up.”
The controversy is over a United States-born parliamentary nominee with the pro-settler Jewish Home party, one of the more serious contenders against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though polls still predict he will win Tuesday’s vote.
In a videotaped recording broadcast by Israeli television stations, Jeremy Gimpel is shown as saying in a 2011 speech in Florida, in reference to a Jerusalem holy site seen as part of a core issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
“Imagine today if the dome, the golden dome, the dome, I’m being recorded so I can’t say, blown up. But let’s say the dome was blown up, right? And we laid the cornerstone of the temple in Jerusalem, can you imagine?”
The Dome of the Rock, a golden topped Islamic shrine in Jerusalem’s old walled city, is built at a site revered by Muslims as where the Prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven.
Jews also cherish the area, they call the Temple Mount, as the place where two biblical Jewish temples once stood.