Sunday, July 22, 2018, 17:33 On the afternoon of Sunday, July 22, on which Tisha B’Av
Students at the police station; Photo credit: Honenu
the day on which the destruction of the Holy Temple is traditionally observed with a day of fasting, fell this year, three activists from the Students for the Temple Mount movement were detained at the entrance to the Temple Mount. They had organized a display under the slogan “It’s time to stop crying and start building!” and arrived at the site dressed as construction workers with helmets, reflective vests and plastic shovels. The students were detained and interrogated at the Merchav David (Old City) Police Station. Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski arrived at the station to assist the detainees and stated that, “This is a ridiculous detention of several students who came to put on a display in order to awaken the People of Israel for the sake of building the Temple, on the day that we lament the destruction of the Temple. The Israeli Police detained the students without any justification and without any apparent reason. “It appears that it has been a long time since freedom of expression has been in such a sad situation in the State of Israel. Apparently organizing an artistic display calling for the murder of the prime minister is permitted, but calling for the construction of the Holy Temple is forbidden.” Poleski concluded with a quote from the Book of Lamentations, which is traditionally read on Tisha B’Av: “For these things I weep…” (Lam. 1:16) Throughout the day approximately 10 Jews who ascended the Temple Mount were detained. All of them were released after a short time. Update: 18:51 The students have been released. In recent years there have been several instances of Jews detained while attempting to pray either on or near the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av. See here for a 2017 case of a detainee tasered in the Old City of Jerusalem. See here for the report of the closings of two cases, one from 2015 and the other from 2016, each of which involved police brutality. See here for a 2013 case in which two Jewish girls were detained while praying near the gates to the Temple Mount, even though police at the site granted them permission to do so.