Updated: Jan 23, 2022
Thursday, December 16, 2021, 15:41 On Thursday, December 16, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ordered the release of the two “Temple Mount mista’arvim” who were detained at their homes by the Jerusalem Police the previous day. During the week, an article was published in which the detainees, both Temple Mount activists, were documented participating in a course training mista’arvim. When they were detained, police detectives searched their homes. One of the detainees was detained in front of dozens of children at his daughter’s birthday party.
The detainees were interrogated by the Jerusalem Police on suspicion of entering a place of worship or burial without permission (penal code, paragraph 172). The police attributed to them the crime of entering a place of worship without permission with the intent to insult someone’s feelings or to denigrate their faith. The crime carries a penalty of three years’ imprisonment.
At the hearing, the police requested that remand of both detainees be extended by five days. Judge Adi Bar-Tal rejected the request and ordered their conditional release. Judge Bar-Tal did agree to delay carrying out the decision for several hours to allow the police time to consider an appeal.
Honenu Attorney Nati Rom represented the detainees at the hearing. When Rom asked the police representative if it was a crime for Jews to enter the Temple Mount, he replied that it was and added that there is a police decision prohibiting Jews from entering through the gates that the Muslims use, which is incorrect. Rom made a statement after the hearing: “We are pleased that the court decided to release the detainees and regret that the police requested a delay in carrying out the decision. I am shocked by the statement in a Jerusalem court room that it is forbidden for Jews to enter the gates of the Temple Mount through which Muslims enter. This is racial discrimination, which should not occur in a democratic state. We hope that the Jerusalem Police will find it correct to invest their energy in fighting the serious crimes which are committed every day in the city, and not in harassing Jews who have not committed any crimes.”
Prior to the hearing, Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who is representing the detainees, stated: “This is an outrageous detention fit for dark regimes. A man was photographed for an article, without concealing his identity, without committing any crime, and the Israeli Police not only did not take the trouble to investigate him, but detained him in his home, without summoning him for interrogation in an official manner.
“It is sad to see that the Israeli Police, particularly the Jerusalem Police, are acting out of political motives, neglecting the serious crime which is raging throughout Jerusalem without a suitable police response and conducting surprise detentions with large teams. The detainees did not disturb public order and did not violate the law at all! Unfortunately it is the police who are disturbing public order, violating the law, and silencing people, violating their freedom of expression and trampling human rights.”
For a selection of cases in which Honenu Attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please see here.