Jewish youth NOT distanced from Old City Jerusalem

Updated: May 19

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

Temple Mount and Western Wall; Photo credit: Lee Aloni/FLASH90

Wednesday, May 18, 2022, 9:10 The police detained a Jewish youth who attempted to enter the Temple Mount through one of the gates in the Old City of Jerusalem. This week, he was brought to a hearing before Deputy Jerusalem Magistrates Court President Judge Yaron Mintkowitz. Based on a claim that the youth was disturbing public order, the police demanded that his release be conditioned on bail and an order distancing him from the Old City of Jerusalem for two months. Judge Mintkowitz completely rejected the police demand and reprimanded them for their conduct.

According to the minutes of the hearing, the youth arrived at one of the gates to the Temple Mount in an attempt to enter the site. The policeman explained to him that the gate was for Muslims only. In response, the youth said that he was a Muslim. Later policemen found his identification card, which he was carrying, and detained him. When the youth was brought before the court, the police claimed that he poses a danger and demanded that he be distanced from the Old City of Jerusalem for two months.

Honenu Attorney Nati Rom represented the youth, who does not have a criminal record, and stated that "the Protection of Holy Places Law states exactly the opposite of what the policeman at the site said. Not only did my client not break any law, but rather the Israeli Police broke the law and violated his basic rights." The Protection of Holy Places Law states that the entrance of Jews to sites such as the Temple Mount may not be restricted, therefore the claim that Jews are forbidden to enter the Temple Mount gates designated for Muslims is incorrect.

In his decision, Judge Mintkowitz wrote: "I examined the investigative material and the [likelihood that the respondent violated a law] appears to be low. The material indicates that the respondent identified himself when he was asked to do so, and even if he expressed objection to the policeman about restricted entry to the El Aqsa area, it is doubtful that this could be considered a crime."

Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who represented the youth: "The situation in which only Muslims are allowed entry through nine gates to the Temple Mount is discriminatory, contrary to the Basic Laws of Israel, and severely violates human rights. It is also completely contrary to the Protection of Holy Places Law and to declarations by the police commissioner and the interior minister, who said that members of all religions would have the freedom to enter the site and freedom of worship on the Temple Mount.

"Unfortunately, Jews are discriminated against in Jerusalem. My client not only did not break the law, but rather the police violated his most basic rights and falsely detained him. Additionally, they tried to distance him for two months from the Old City, which clearly indicates that their intent was to penalize Jews. This was an outrageous incident, and we are pleased that the court unanimously rejected the police demand."

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