The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has ordered the police to pay Temple Mount rights activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick almost NIS 30,000 in compensation for wrongful arrests on two occasions.

Glick has long claimed that the police discriminate against religious Jews wishing to visit the Temple Mount compared with treatment received by Jews of a non-religious appearance.

The rabbi, and others, said that the police demand that religious Jews wishing to go up to the Temple Mount deposit their identity card at the police security booth at the entrance to the site. They also limit the number of people in a religious group and conduct more rigorous searches on religious Jews than on other visitors.

In 2009, he filed a petition with the High Court of Justice on this issue but the case was dismissed.

In December of that year Glick tried to film the security booth in order to provide proof of his claim, but was arrested (on two occasions) by the police for this activity.

The activist rabbi subsequently filed a suit for damages against the police, arguing that the arrests caused him mental anguish and were defamatory and injurious to his rights.

Judge Aviv Malka of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ruled on Tuesday in favor of Glick, awarding him NIS 29,700, plus interest and adjusted for inflation, in accordance with the demands made by the rabbi in his suit.

“The plaintiff was arrested not because of any specific activities but rather because of the fact that he was identified as a provocateur (perhaps justifiably), a consideration that is not acceptable for detaining or arresting someone without a factual basis justifying the detainment or arrest,” the judge ruled.

“The arrest or detainment of a person without an immediate or fitting reason except for past activities or his opinions is an act that characterizes dubious regimes and not the democratic government of the State of Israel. The result is that the plaintiff is entitled to compensation for these two arrests.”

A complaint filed against the police by Glick in relation to a third arrest was dismissed by the judge who ruled that the rabbi had not succeeded in proving that the police had acted unreasonably.

In that incident, Glick had brought a goat into the Old City of Jerusalem in March 2010 ahead of the Passover festival, but was arrested by the police on suspicion that he wished to perform the Jewish ceremony of the Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount.

Glick claimed that he had intended to merely conduct a prayer ceremony in the Hurva synagogue with the goat in symbolic remembrance of the Passover sacrifice, but Judge Malka ruled that the police had been justified in detaining him on that occasion.

Glick has for years worked with several organizations that seek to assert Jewish visitation and prayer rights on the Temple Mount and actively encourage more Jews to visit the holy place.

He now heads a new project called Liba, funded by the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation and the Israel Independence Fund, which conducts legal advocacy to advance civil rights at the site as well as public advocacy promoting Jewish visitation.

Increasing numbers of religious people, mainly from the national religious community, have begun visiting the Temple Mount in recent years, largely due to the activities of the Temple Mount rights organizations.

The phenomenon has led to increased security tensions at the site as well as increased political tension between nationalist and national religious politicians and Arab political parties in the Knesset.

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