A Border Police officer overlooks Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Natan Jonson, 30, was charged with attacking police under aggravated circumstances, attempted illegal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest.
The indictment filed by the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office did not allege that Jonson had planned a terrorist attack on the Temple Mount, and the Justice Ministry said there was no indication he planned one, though they did not explain what his intentions had been.
According to the indictment, Jonson approached the Cotton Merchants Gate to the Temple Mount around 11:15 a.m. on Thursday. As soon as he passed police guarding the entrance to the gate, one guard asked him to identify himself and whether he had permission to enter through that gate, since Jews generally are not allowed to do so.
When Jonson ignored him, the officer grabbed Jonson’s backpack to stop him and resolve the situation.
Jonson responded by saying: “Get off of me [expletive] policeman,” after which the officer physically blocked his way forward and demanded that Jonson identify himself.
Jonson then pushed the officer backwards, upon which the guard advised Jonson that his actions could be a criminal offense and that he would be arrested if he persisted.
Next, Jonson responded that he did not care and slapped the officer in the face, including knocking off his glasses. He then started to strike and kick the policeman, leading the officer and other police at the scene to restrain him as he called out, “Kahana was right,” “Death to Muhammad,” “Muhammad is a pig” and “Death to Arabs.”
Even as police worked to restrain Jonson, he tried to grab one of their guns, but was thwarted. He then grabbed a policeman’s baton and struck the officer in the head.
Eventually, Jonson was restrained but continued to resist, even trying to grab the weapons of other officers at the police station.