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Temple Mount policies discriminate against Jews

Thursday, July 9, 2015, 20:49 A deliberation took place at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Thursday, July 9 on the case of the “Hozrim LaHar” (Returning to the [Temple] Mount) activists detained for calling out “Allah akbar” at the Western Wall Plaza the previous day. The court partially accepted the police demand, which demanded that the activists be banned from all areas of the Old City of Jerusalem, and ordered that the activists be banned from entering the Western Wall Plaza for 15 days. Judge Gioia Skappa-Shapiro mentioned in her decision that, “This act is liable to cause a disturbance and even a violent incident.” The activists reacted to the decision with a “raised eyebrow” in light of the fact that their protest was specifically in response to Judge Gioia Skappa-Shapiro’s ruling a few days previously in which she ruled that the verbal assaults of Muslims calling out “Allah akbar” at groups of Jews on the Temple Mount do not constitute a criminal violation and are considered freedom of expression. “It seems that the acts of the defendants were done in protest of the court decision concerning incidents of calls of the ‘takbir’, “Allah akbar” by Muslims on the Temple Mount. I did not reason that the incidents are similar…” wrote Judge Skappa-Shapiro in her decision and explained that the acts of the activists are in opposition to the ordinances regulating conduct at holy sites. The judge added that “Even though the calls themselves are included in freedom of expression, the circumstances under which the calls were made are such that they could pose a danger.” The decision drew strong responses from the activists, and that is in light of the blatant discrimination, according to the activists, in the decisions of the judge, who ruled severely in the case of the Jews, but was accepting and understanding of the Muslims’ acts. Honenu attorney David HaLevi, who represented the activists, stated after the deliberation that, “The decision of the police to demand that my clients be banned from the Old City is particularly outrageous. The court ruled that the threatening calls of ‘Allah akbar’ by groups of women which are meant to terrify the Jews who ascend the Temple Mount, do not constitute a criminal violation. “In order to point out the extent of the absurdity my clients made similar calls and within a short period of time they were detained and a demand was made to ban them from entering the Old City. This conduct by the police and following it the decision of the court are an injustice and an instance of serious discrimination. Arabs on the Temple Mount were treated preferentially and given protection by the legal system while similar behavior by Jews who did an experiment in order to express their protest of the discriminatory treatment by the authorities was answered with inflexible and uncompromising treatment. “The demand by the police to ban my clients from the Old City of Jerusalem was not accepted. Nevertheless we are considering filing an appeal on the decision in order to correct the injustice and the discrimination taking place under the protection of the law and the legal system.” “The ‘Hozrim LaHar’ movement denounces the court’s decision to ban the activists from the Western Wall Plaza,” stated Raphael Morris, the head of the movement. “It is disappointing to hear that the legal system supports the discrimination going on on the Temple Mount. The comparison in the words of the judge is outrageous. This decision encourages terror.”

Please see videos of the incident here and here. Video credit: Hozrim LaHar

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