Jewish woman carrying grape juice detained at entry to Temple Mount

Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 20:50 On Tuesday, December 16, the Jerusalem Magistrate Court accepted the appeal filed by Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger and canceled the restraining order issued to a Jewish woman who attempted to go onto the Temple Mount with a bottle of grape juice. The story started approximately one week previously. A 54 year-old resident of Ma’aleh Adumim attempted to go onto the Temple Mount in the morning. However when her bag was searched a bottle of grape juice was found and she was detained. “I had in my bag about 170 ml. of grape juice, a few cookies, some dates, a carrot and Bamba [popular Israeli peanut snack],” she said. “At the check-post they took the grape juice out of my bag and asked me what it was. I told them that it was grape juice, but the officer smelled the bottle and said that he wasn’t an expert in alcohol and needed to have the bottle examined.” At that moment the woman started an adventure she never imagined that she would even experience. After several minutes the policemen informed her that she was being detained for investigation and took her to the Merchav David (Old City District) Police Station in Jerusalem. At the station she was interrogated for several hours about her intent to go onto the Temple Mount with grape juice in her possession. She was required to give fingerprints and photographed from all angles. In the end after she felt ill and the interrogation was stopped several times the officer ordered her to sign on a restraining order banning her from the Temple Mount for 15 days and informed her that her bottle of grape juice had been confiscated. The woman contacted Honenu and requested legal assistance. Honenu attorney Naftali Wertzberger filed an appeal with the Jerusalem Magistrate Court in which he demanded that the restraining order be canceled and claimed that the detention was illegal and that there is no prohibition to possess grape juice, even on the Temple Mount. Judge Miriam Kaslassy ordered the police to respond to the appeal and scheduled a deliberation. The police did not respond to the appeal or take the trouble to send a representative to the deliberation on Tuesday, December 16. Subsequently the judge ruled that the restraining order was canceled, but refrained from ruling specifically on the appeal. Additionally the judge rejected Wertzberger’s demand to require the police to pay the legal costs for the deliberation and merely rebuked the police. “Despite the fact that the court gave the police an opportunity to explain their decision to issue the woman a restraining order, they did not respond and did not even appear at the deliberation,” said Wertzberger. “Apparently they show force and determination at nothing and then when they are required to justify and explain [their decisions] they run away like rabbits. Unfortunately the court backed them and despite my request to express dissatisfaction and require the police to pay the substantial legal fees for the process, the court only rebuked the police. If this is the way of the court then there is no doubt that the contemptuous conduct of the police will continue.”

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