Court ruling: Shofar blowing permitted on Temple Mount

Wednesday, July 29, 2015, 11:43 The police have failed again in their attempt to keep Jews off of the Temple Mount. Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Mirit Fohrer rejected the police request for a restraining order banning two Jewish youths from ascending the Temple Mount for 60 days. Judge Fohrer accepted Honenu attorney Avichai Hajbi’s pleas and leveled criticism against the police. One of the youths was detained on Friday, July 24 in the afternoon near one of the gates to the Temple Mount on a claim that he had tried to blow a shofar and had assaulted a policeman. The youth was released shortly before Shabbat and was summoned to a deliberation which took place on Monday, July 27. At the deliberation the police demanded that the youth be banned from ascending the Temple Mount. At the deliberation it became known that the policeman whom the police claimed had been assaulted had not testified about an assault. A policewoman who had been on the scene testified that the youth had not assaulted anyone. Additionally, in response to a question by Hajbi, the police representative admitted that there was no written ordinance prohibiting blowing a shofar or holding one in the area of the Temple Mount. Judge Fohrer ruled that there was not a reasonable suspicion that the youth had carried out a crime and refused to ban the youth from ascending the Temple Mount. “No basis for a prohibition against blowing or carrying a shofar in the area of the Temple Mount was presented and therefore I rejected the request,” wrote Judge Fohrer. The other youth is suspected of attempted to the ascend the Temple Mount on July 26, the day on which the Tisha B’Av fast was observed this year, while wearing tefilin. Also in this case a police representative admitted that there is no written ordinance prohibiting a Jew from ascending the Temple Mount while wearing tefilin. Additionally the police claimed that the youth bit a policeman as he was being detained. However a video clip presented to the court shows that the youth did not commit any violation of the law before the policemen started to beat him. “A video clip was presented to me… in which one sees that the defendant did not do anything before the security forces evacuated him, and it should be noted that they evacuated him aggressively,” wrote Judge Fohrer. She ruled that even though afterwards apparently the youth did bite one of the policemen who had seized him, there is no cause to ban him from the Temple Mount and he was unconditionally released. Honenu attorney Avichai Hajbi stated that, “The court unequivocally ruled that wearing tefilin and carrying a shofar is as acceptable as a hijab and a darbuka. The outrageous manner in which the police discriminate against Jews and in favor of Arabs on the Temple Mount must stop, and it would be best as soon as possible.” Honenu: “The persecution by the police of Jews who want to ascend the Temple Mount is a serious outrage. We will consider suing the police for false detention in both cases. We wonder why the police invest so much effort in detaining Jews whose only ‘crime’ is blowing a shofar or wearing tefilin, instead of eradicating the rampant Arab terror and incitement from the Temple Mount.”

For additional, but not all, cases in which Honenu attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please see here.

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