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  • Uri DeYoung

Honenu calls for bodyguards for Judge Saharay

Updated: May 24

For a selection of cases in which Honenu Attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please click here.

Honenu Atty. Nati Rom; Photo credit: Ishi Hazani, Studio Mirkam

Monday, May 23, 2022, 7:50 On Sunday, May 22, Honenu called for security to be placed around Judge Tzion Saharay following threats by terror organizations and left-wing incitement. Honenu: "Terror organizations and left-wing persona must not be allowed to verbally attack and threaten judges while tainting the judicial process and greatly damaging the Israeli courts and judicial system. We are concerned that following Judge Saharay's decision regarding Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, incitement from left-wing personas, and verbal attacks on online social networks, extremists will attempt to harm the judge and the court. One must not be complacent with threats by terror and left-wing organizations. Their goal is to weaken the autonomy of the courts and the integrity of judicial proceedings. We call on the police, the security authorities, and the Court Guard to place security and protection around Judge Saharay already this evening for the sake of the autonomy of the judicial system and the preservation of proper and untainted proceedings. Thus judges will not be influenced by extremists on social networks or by terror organizations."

Honenu's statement follows an announcement by Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Saharay that Jews must not be prevented from praying and prostrating themselves on the Temple Mount. Judge Saharay ruled on an appeal filed by Honenu Attorney Nati Rom in the case of three youths banned from the Old City of Jerusalem after they recited the "Shema Yisrael" prayer and prostrated themselves on the Temple Mount. During the hearing, Rom claimed that there was neither legal justification for the ban nor a governmental directive prohibiting Jews from prostrating themselves or praying on the Temple Mount. The defense minister and the police commissioner had also publically declared that there was complete freedom of worship for members of all religions at the site.

In his decision, Judge Saharay ruled that it is impossible to say that prostrating oneself or reciting the "Shema Yisrael" prayer establishes a reasonable suspicion of conduct likely to cause a disturbance of the peace, as is required by law to constitute a violation of the law. "It is difficult to imagine a situation in which reciting 'Shema Yisrael' on the Temple Mount would constitute a criminal violation that is an act likely to disrupt the peace," wrote Judge Saharay.

Judge Saharay's ruling drew many reactions, especially from terror organizations and left-wing personas who did not accept it. On the day of the ruling, Hamas stated that "the decision by the [Jerusalem] Magistrates Court to allow the Zionist Jews to hold their Talmudic rites as part of their provocative incursion into the El Aqsa Mosque courtyards is playing with fire that crosses all red lines and a dangerous escalation, the consequences of which the leaders of the occupation will bear." A similar announcement came from the royal palace in Jordan, claiming that the ruling violates international agreements regarding Jerusalem.

The Minister of Regional Cooperation, MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) severely attacked the ruling. MK Frej posted a tweet on his Twitter account (translation by Honenu): "The decision to allow a violation of the status quo in the El Aqsa compound is not only erroneous but rather irresponsible and dangerous. One idiot is enough to burn an entire forest. To stop the blaze, the Attorney General and the office of the State Attorney must appeal the decision and demand a postponement of its implementation, before we find ourselves in a spiral of violence as a result of the delusions of grandeur of one magistrate judge."

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