An Israeli court has again ruled in support of the right of Jews to pray at the Temple Mount. But the Israel Police appear to have no interest in abiding by the ruling.
An Israeli judge ruled on Sunday ruled that police “must ensure that Jews are able to pray at the Temple Mount,” setting what appears to be a groundbreaking legal precedent.
The Jerusalem Magistrate court ordered Israeli police to pay equal-rights activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick NIS 500,000 for illegally banning him from the site for two years after seeing a video of him praying there. Glick was awarded another NIS 150,000 in legal costs.
Glick was shot and critically wounded by a Muslim terrorist in October, having been targeted for fighting for equal rights on the Mount. He recovered after a prolonged battle. His assassin was tracked down and killed by Israeli security forces in a gun battle.
Jewish activists have been demanding equal rights for prayer on the Temple Mount for many years. The site, liberated by the Jewish state during the 1967 Six Day War, remained nonetheless under the administration of the Jordanian Muslim Trust (Waqf). While Muslims could enter the holy site freely, whether to pray, socialize, eat or even play soccer – in fact, nine out of 10 entrance points are for Muslims only – police had banned Jewish worship there, claiming that such activity would agitate the Muslims and cause public unrest. The court now ruled that such conduct essentially infringes on the rights of the Jewish worshipers.
The Supreme Court previously ruled that Jews may pray at the site, stating, however, that police were permitted to take security considerations into account when deciding whether or not to allow non-Muslim prayer.
Judge Malka Aviv decried the police ban on Glick, basically saying that it was illegal and that it had been issued “without appropriate consideration, was arbitrary, and only out of concern for the consequences of the broadcast.”
“There is nothing in the deeds of the plaintiff [Glick] that justified in any way the punishment that he received, not in the ban itself and not in the extended period [of the ban],” Aviv stated.
“The court permitted [Jewish] prayer on the Temple Mount,” Attorney Aviad Visoly, who represented Glick, explained regarding the new ruling. “Essentially, the court took the ruling of the Supreme Court regarding the right of Jews to pray at the Temple Mount and implemented it in practice.”
“Starting from today, all Jews are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. There is no longer any crime in prayer itself,” he underscored.
Temple Mount activists were jubilant, saying in a blog: “This day will be remembered for generations in the annals of the struggle for the return of Jews to the Temple Mount.”
However, just days after the court ruling police again chose to ignore it and ban Jews from praying on the Temple Mount.
On Wednesday, a senior police officer made it clear to Jews visiting the holy site that the police would not be adhering to the court decision.
The officer, who is well known to Jewish visitors and responsible for authorizing Jewish visits, told a group that as far as he and the police force were concerned, “this court ruling doesn’t exist.”
By: Aryeh Savir
Staff Writer, United with Israel
Sign the Declaration to Keep Jerusalem United
Jerusalem Must Remain the United Capital of Israel
I declare that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish People and support all efforts to maintain and strengthen a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel.