Temple Mount activists demand cancelation of administrative orders


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

Please see here a recent case involving "Temple Mount mista’arvim"

Wednesday, January 19, 2022 Two "Temple Mount mista’arvim", who are also Hozrim L’Har (Returning to the [Temple] Mount) activists, petitioned the High Court of Justice against Major-General Uri Gordin, the GOC of the Home-front Command, in a demand to cancel the administrative distancing orders served to them. The orders include distancing from the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, for three months.

Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who is representing the two activists, leveled criticism at the administrative orders: "The two Hozrim L’Har activists received draconian administrative orders. The orders are not judicial, and there is no place for them in a democratic state. No crime was committed, and there is no cause for persecution. It is an embarrassment that Jews are not allowed their basic right: to be at a site holy to them and to pray there, to allow them freedom of worship."

Raphael Morris, one of the petitioners: "Our activities on the Temple Mount are legal and legitimate. That Jews cannot realize their religious desire to build the Holy Temple today in the heart of the State of Israel, which is the Zionist aspiration after two millennia of exile, is a disgrace. Even the few things that the law allows us, the State blocks with administrative orders, because they do not have the legal ability to prevent Jews from ascending the Temple Mount and praying there."

Approximately six weeks ago, Raphael Morris and Uri Shilo, youths active in the Hozrim L’Har (Returning to the [Temple] Mount) movement, were summoned to a hearing before being served with administrative orders maintaining that they are involved with planning extreme and forbidden activities and that their entry to the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, is a security risk. Both activists rejected the claims against them. The Home-front Command did not accept their claims and they were served with the orders distancing them from the Old City of Jerusalem, on the day that a report describing their activities with Hozrim L'har was aired by Channel 13 (Israeli).

In response to the administrative orders, Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who is representing the activists, filed a petition on their behalf, claiming that the distancing orders are a disproportionate violation of their rights. He is of the opinion that the orders will be canceled.

The petition mentions that the two activists appeared in a report aired by Channel 13 about a course in which they participated that teaches people how to disguise themselves in an Arab setting. The purpose of the course is to be able to ascend the Temple Mount through the gates open to Muslim visitors. The security forces were aware of the course, and that is evident in the report.

The activists claim that the activities described in the report were the basis for serving them with administrative orders, although the "extreme and forbidden activities" were not specified. The activists also claim that the lack of specification deprived them of their right to a hearing in accordance with the law.

Rom further explained that the entry of Jews to the Temple Mount through the gates designated for Muslims is not illegal and never was forbidden according to law, to regulations or to any official decision whatsoever: "The petitioners participated in a course which teaches people how to disguise themselves as Arabs so that they can enter the Temple Mount through the gates designated for Muslims. Is this an illegal activity? Not at all."

Moreover, two days after the orders were served and the report was aired, Raphael Morris was detained with the instructor of the above mentioned course. They were released from remand despite a request from the police, and the restrictions that had been imposed on them were canceled. Ori Shilo was summoned for interrogation for his participation in the course and the restrictions that had been imposed on him were also canceled.

The petition went on the explain that "the petitioners did not commit any crime, and the fact that at the stage of the detention in the appeal we filed, the Jerusalem District Court accepted our claims and canceled all of the restrictive conditions, supports the demand in the petition [to cancel the administrative orders]."

The petitioners claimed that their freedom should not be restricted out of concern for reactions by violent terrorists: "A situation in which restrictive administrative orders are imposed on citizens who have not committed a crime or violated the law is intolerable. All of this is meant to placate criminal and terrorist elements."

The activists also claimed that the distancing orders severely violate their freedom and are a disproportional and unjustifiable violation of their rights. Additionally, they claimed that the distancing orders prevent them from entering the Temple Mount through the Mughrabi Gate during the hours customarily permitted to Jews with a police escort. "Is there any danger at all in that?" they complained.

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

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