Jerusalem court allows Jewish prayer on Temple Mount
Updated: May 24, 2022
For a selection of cases in which Honenu Attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please click here.
Sunday, May 22, 2022, 19:00 Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Tzion Saharay accepted an appeal filed by Honenu Attorney Nati Rom and canceled the release conditions imposed by the police on several Jewish youths after they prostrated themselves and recited the "Shema Yisrael" prayer on the Temple Mount. Judge Saharay also ruled that they had not violated any laws. The conditions included an order distancing the youths from the Old City of Jerusalem.
In his decision, Judge Saharay wrote, "In my opinion, it is not possible to say that prostrating oneself and reciting the 'Shema Yisrael' prayer – under the circumstances in the case before me – 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."
In his dramatic decision, Judge Saharay quoted Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai, who told one of the news media that the Temple Mount is open and that the Israel Police allow anyone who comes to pray on the Temple Mount freedom of worship. "Under these circumstances, the public declaration of the police commissioner, which clearly and explicitly indicates that all residents of the State [of Israel] (and the territories) are allowed to ascend the Temple Mount and to worship according to their faith, is as he stated and it calls on everyone who desires [to ascend] to do so. The actions of the appellants were in accordance with the public announcement by the police commissioner and in accordance with the Protection of Holy Places Law, and it is not possible to suspect them of carrying out a criminal act because of them," ruled Judge Saharay.
Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who filed the appeal on behalf of the appellants, welcomed the court's decision: "We are very pleased with the court's clear decision. The time has come for the Israel Police to start enforcing the law, to detain rioters and people who commit crimes in Jerusalem, to protect the residents of the city, and to stop dealing with esoteric problems while blatantly violating the freedom of religion of Jews on the Temple Mount. The Israel Police knows when laws are violated, and therefore they are attempting to falsely attribute to Jews ascending the Temple Mount all sorts of crimes. The time has come for the Israel Police to come to their senses and stop their racially motived harassment of Jews ascending the Temple Mount."