Arrest [illustrative] 370.
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Three Israeli men were detained and questioned by police Thursday morning for
illegally praying on the Temple Mount.
According to Police spokesman
Micky Rosenfeld, the men were part of a larger group visiting the
“They began praying and were removed and questioned for not
following the guidelines,” said Rosenfeld.
Although the Supreme Court has
upheld Jewish prayer rights at the site – which is overseen by the Wakf Muslim
religious trust – the court allows police to prevent any form of worship there
if they believe such activities will incite a “disturbance to the public
This caveat has resulted in a contentious debate among religious
Jews and the government, as any form of prayer among Jews there – including
simply moving their lips to appear to be praying – is considered a “public
disturbance” and has resulted in a plethora of detainments.
In April, MK
Miri Regev (Likud), who was appointed to chair the Knesset Interior and
Environmental Affairs Committees, created controversy when she said she intended
to tour the Temple Mount with Interior Committee members to further the
possibility of legalizing Jewish prayer there.
“Jews can pray at the
Temple Mount,” said Regev, who could play a pivotal part in changing
long-standing legislation barring Jewish visitors from praying at the
Regev has insisted that she will not hesitate to address the heated
issue head on.
“I don’t understand why a Jew is not allowed to pray in
the most sacred place for him,” she said. “I intend to soon tour there, with an
emphasis on freedom of Jewish prayer.”
In response, MK Michal Roisin
(Meretz) warned that Regev’s words could sabotage the peace process and ignite a
“This is a low attempt, and a cynical use of religion
for political purposes, to sabotage the peace process,” said
Roisin warned that it was just such an initiative by former prime
minister Ariel Sharon in 2000 that ignited the second intifada.
seems to be all too happy to launch a third intifada,” Roisin said. “It’s up to
the prime minister to immediately stop such an initiative.”
continued: “The Temple Mount issue will only be resolved through a peace
agreement that will recognize it as a sacred place for the three religions – and
only then can we allow all three religions to respectfully pray there and carry
out their beliefs with pluralism, equality and mutual respect.”
number of mainstream Jews from around the globe have increasingly expressed
great consternation that Jews – including members of Knesset – are prevented
from going to the Temple Mount to pray.