A view of the Mount of Olives and the Temple Mount.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A Temple Mount activist will not be banned by police from visiting the site, despite having been detained for picking up a rock during a visit last week, an NGO announced on Monday.
Last week, right-wing activist Dov Morel was detained and taken off the Temple Mount to the police station when he picked up a rock.
According to the right-wing NGO Honenu, the police had accused Morel of planning to smuggle the rock off the Temple Mount, though when he was detained he had only picked it up and had not attempted to leave the premises with it.
Honenu did not mention any allegations suggesting Morel might have been thinking about throwing the rock at someone.
At the police station, Morel was told the police would ban him from the Temple Mount due to the public disturbance he had caused.
However, as of Monday, Honenu said the police had backed off, after its lawyers threatened to take the police to court and to make them pay all of Morel’s legal expenses.
The NGO claimed that Morel was not going to remove the rock, but that even if he was, removing a rock from the Temple Mount is not against the law and could not justify Morel’s detention or any punitive measures.
Honenu lawyer Itamar Ben Gvir commented on the decision made by the police, saying, “On one hand, the police did the right thing when they did not stick to additional [visitation] limitations. On the other hand, it is hard to ignore that also under [Public Security] Minister Gilad Erdan, the situation on the Temple Mount is far from ideal, and policemen are grasping for weak reasons to keep Jews away from the mount.”
“This is not democracy and this is not freedom of expression,” Ben Gvir added.
The police had no comment.