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Who decides what "extreme and forbidden acts" are?


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

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

Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 20:44 On Tuesday, February 15, the High Court of Justice held a hearing on a petition filed by two “Temple Mount mista’arvim” against the administrative orders forbidding them to enter the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. Honenu Attorney Nati Rom asked the court to reveal the grounds for the orders served to the Temple Mount activists. Rom is of the opinion that the administrative orders severely violate the rights of the activists, especially in light of the Attorney General's office refusal to divulge the grounds for the order, other than basing it on "extreme and forbidden acts".

Rom added that the activists had not violated any law by entering the Temple Mount disguised as Arabs, and that in criminal proceedings they were unconditionally released."Who decided what is an extreme act and what is not?" asked Rom. "Perhaps praying on the Temple Mount is an extreme act, and perhaps it is not. Perhaps entering through a specific gate that the police claim – illegally – is for Muslims only is a forbidden act. If so, why have the petitioners not been told what they are forbidden to do and by the power of what law? We ask the court to let them know why their freedom has been so acutely restricted."

Rom later stated on behalf of the petitioners that the claim by the Attorney General's office that the ascent of the mista’arvim to the Temple Mount could bring about the "explosion of the powder keg" does not impose any responsibility on them. "The arrows should be aimed at the violent side from which the danger stems. And it is preferable to deal with those who are 'lighting the fire,' not with those who did not do anything forbidden," stated Rom to the justices.

After the hearing, Rom stated, "We are leaving the hearing at the Supreme Court regarding the petition against the draconian administrative orders – holdovers from the British Mandate that were originally used against Jewish heroes in underground movements. Two Israeli citizens attempted to pass through the gates to the Temple Mount and were served with administrative orders signed by the GOC of the Home-front Command, Major-General Uri Gordin, forbidding them to enter the Old City of Jerusalem for three months. Extreme and forbidden acts indeed.

"Unfortunately, although the law books of the State of Israel permit what the mista’arvim did, the Israel Police, the GSS and the Attorney General's office have decided by themselves what is extreme and what is forbidden, thereby trampling the basic rights of the mista’arvim. Regrettably, the Supreme Court, the authority trusted to uphold human rights, did not choose to protect human rights, but rather chose to toe the line with the distorted perception that allows members of only one religion, Muslims, to enter a certain gate of the Temple Mount. The situation imparts a strong scent of racism."

Several hours later, the justices decided to reject the petition, to not cancel the administrative orders, and to not divulge the grounds for the orders. However, the justices ruled that the petitioners are allowed to request permission to enter the Western Wall Plaza, and their requests will be individually considered.

The administrative orders were served to the petitioners immediately after Channel 13 (Israeli) aired a report about their activism as "Temple Mount mista’arvim" in the framework of 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.

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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