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  • Uri DeYoung

Honenu to Supreme Court President: Defend the Temple Mount ruling

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 director Shmuel (Zangi) Meidad; Free use

Monday, May 23, 2022, 9:58 The uproar over the Temple Mount ruling continues. On the morning of Monday, May 23, Honenu director Shmuel (Zangi) Meidad asked the President of the Supreme Court, Justice Esther Hayut, to defend the dignity of the court following a decision by Judge Tzion Saharay. The ruling, which allows Jews to pray and to prostrate themselves on the Temple Mount, drew threats from terror organizations, left-wing personas, and members of the Knesset.

In his letter to Justice Hayut, Meidad described the tumult surrounding the ruling and cited many reactions from left-wing politicians: "I would like to call your attention to the public uproar that arose yesterday (Sunday) after the announcement of the decision by the Honorable Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Tzion Saharay on an appeal filed by Honenu Attorney Nati Rom regarding Jewish visitors who prostrated themselves on the Temple Mount.

"In the past, you voiced your opposition to politicians who expressed criticism about or a lack of confidence in the court, and now, it seems that there has been an unprecedented relaxation of restraint over the past day. Minister [of Regional Cooperation] Issawi Frej (Meretz) tweeted on his Twitter account sharp criticisms of the court decision and even called the Honorable Judge Saharay derogatory epithets when he claimed that His Honor's decision stemmed from 'delusions of grandeur'. In addition to these unacceptable statements by Minister Frej, his party colleague Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry, Ya'ir Golan, claimed this morning in an interview with Radio 103 FM [Israeli] that the court's decision is 'a grave mistake'.

"The public recalls that, more than once, you made scathing statements against politicians who dared to voice opposition to the court. That is how it was after the first speech by former Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana in 2019 when you publicly and severely attacked him by claiming that his speech bordered on anarchy. That is what occurred only recently with your public letter against Knesset Member David Amsalem, and also on other occasions."

Meidad is of the opinion that the remarks by Israeli politicians encourage additional attacks on the courts and on the State of Israel: "Remarks during the current wave of terror are all the more serious as they do not come from a void. Alongside the caustic attack by Israeli politicians, the Hamas terror organization publicly threatened Israel not to implement the honorable court's decision. Additional personas from the Arab population of Israel and abroad furiously responded to Judge Saharay's decision."

In closing, the letter mentions the unusual interference of the Secretariat of the Government in an attempt to influence the court ruling: "I am certain that you will find the time to firmly denounce the unrestrained verbal attacks by Israel politicians on the court and likewise the government, which publicized an announcement yesterday by the Secretariat of the Government that they had been informed that an appeal would be filed against the court's decision. And I would like to know when it became acceptable for political elements to involve themselves with professional decision-making in criminal cases. Public trust in the courts is important to all of us, and your silence in the face of the current defiance is liable to be interpreted as a discriminatory policy, not to mention hypocrisy," concluded Shmuel (Zangi) Meidad, the director of Honenu.

On Sunday, May 22, Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Tzion Saharay ruled that there is no justification for preventing Jews from praying and prostrating themselves on the Temple Mount. This ruling follows 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 publicly declared that there was complete freedom of worship for members of all religions at the site.

In his decision, Judge Saharay wrote, "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."

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