Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jews Banished from Temple Mount

Hillel Fendel

A mob of dozens of Arabs threatened and nearly surrounded a group of Jewish worshipers who visited the Temple Mount over the Simchat Torah holiday on Tuesday. The police told the Jews to leave.

The Arabs, who were preparing for a demonstration, approached the Jewish group and chanted "Allahu Akbar" - a phrase ostensibly praising G-d, but often used to herald an imminent terrorist attack. The police then intervened, told the Jews they should cut their visit short, and arrested two Arabs suspected of inciting the mob. No one was hurt.
The judge stated emphatically that the Jewish right to pray on the Temple Mount is legally guaranteed by the State of Israel.

Last week, during the Sukkot holiday, Temple Institute Director Yehuda Glick was arrested for several hours while waiting in line with hundreds of others to visit the Temple Mount. The police accused him of "instigation and provocation" in the framework of his activities to encourage Jews to visit the Mount, and asked for a court order keeping him away from the area for six months. Even after the police reduced their demand to 20 days, Jerusalem Magistrates Court Judge Morris Ben-Attar ordered them to release Glick immediately.

The judge stated emphatically that the Jewish right to pray on the Temple Mount is legally guaranteed by the State of Israel.

Some 400 people visited the Mount, Judaism's most sacred site, on Tuesday morning, and another 500 attempted to do so that afternoon - after having coordinated their plans with the police in advance. Despite this, the police were not prepared for such large numbers, refused to allow them in - and arrested Glick in the process.

Speaking later with Arutz-7, Glick expressed "sorrow that the police, instead of admitting their failure in preparing for the hundreds of visitors - even though they knew about them for months in advance - chose instead to take revenge on someone who has led an approach of cooperation with the police."

Glick said that the Tuesday holiday visit did not even start off smoothly: "It was a group of 16 members of the family of Rabbi Yosef Elboim, who has been promoting Temple Mount awareness for 40 years. But the police said that only 15 people were allowed up at once... It took them 20 minutes to decide that the 16th person could also go up. Then, while the Arabs were preparing to demonstrate, the police didn't do anything, and when it began to be a little dangerous, they told the Jews that they had to leave."

Ascent to the Temple Mount is a matter of rabbinic dispute. Many say that it is forbidden according to Jewish Law, because of the danger of setting foot in Biblically-prohibited areas. Other rabbis, however, say that these areas can be clearly delineated, and that those who immerse in a ritual bath [mikveh] and take other rabbinically-prescribed precautions before their visit can be assured that they will walk only in permitted areas. The latter add that it is not only permitted, but also recommended, to visit the Mount under these circumstances.

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