Gee, Thanks… Court Orders Police to Permit Jews to “Protest” Being Barred from Temple Mount
On Sunday, attorney Yitzhak Baum, who works for Israeli Zionist legal aid organization Honenu, petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court regarding the refusal of Jerusalem police to allow Temple Mount organizations to rally this coming Tuesday, July 14, at one of the gates of the Temple Mount.
The rally organizers wished to protest the police barring Jews from the Temple Mount compound from the 17th of Tammuz (July 4), the date which starts the three weeks leading up to the 9th of Av, a period when Jews mourn the destruction of the Temple.
Jews have been barred from the holy site because the Muslim month of Ramadan fell on some of the Jewish period of mourning. When Ramadan ends, this Friday, presumably, the gates will once again open to Jews, unless Police still feel that Jewish presence there could provoke Arab violence.
Unfortunately, Arab violence is all too frequently provoked by the mere presence of Jews on Temple mount, regardless of the date. In fact, the date for the rally, July 14, was picked to mark one year since Muslim rioters torched the police station on the Temple Mount.
The organizers tried to coordinate the protest with police, according to Honenu, but the police refused to allow the protest to take place opposite one of the gates of the Temple Mount, suggesting it be held someplace safe, and distant, such as the Jewish Quarter, or Mt. Zion.
At some point during the negotiations between rally organizers and the police, the latter suggested Dung Gate, situated near the southeast corner of the old city, southwest of the Temple Mount; and a police officer toured the site with an organizer, but then the officer retracted the authorization, citing an order from the Jerusalem District Police Commander, Major General Yossi Friyanty.
Baum petitioned the Supreme Court, demanding that it order police to allow the protest to take place near the Temple Mount. He mentioned in his petition that the Supreme Court had at one time authorized left-wing Meretz activists to march on Shabbat on Bar Ilan Street, which is located in a Hareidi neighborhood—which is way up there on the list of acts that provoke violence—and so there is no cause to discriminate against Temple Mount activists.
“It is sad to see that, out of fear of Muslim rage, the police violate Jews’ freedom of expression and freedom of worship of Jews, time after time,” Baum told the press after filing his petition. “The police have chosen the easy way and instead of coping with rioting Muslims they prefer to prevent Jews from ascending the Temple Mount or protesting.”
“The attempts to prevent the protest are part of the policy of silencing and concealing from the media, the Knesset and the courts, the violations of the law and disturbances of the peace which occur on the Temple Mount against Jews,” the protest organizers stated.
“As if it were not enough that the government and the police have banned Jews from the Temple Mount during two of the most significant weeks related to the Holy Temple, it cannot be that they would also ban us from the gates [of the Temple Mount],” they said.