Activists detained for attempted animal sacrifice

Hard-right political and religious activists with lamb detained for trying to perform sacrifice on Temple Mount.

Police officer carries lamb 370 (photo credit: The Joint Association of Temple Organizations)
Police officer carries lamb 370
(photo credit: The Joint Association of Temple Organizations)
A lamb and two humans were detained by police in Jerusalem on Monday as they were making their way to the Temple Mount.
The humans, hard-right political and religious activists Noam Federman and Arye Sunnenberg, intended to go to the Temple Mount and carry out the Jewish ritual of the Passover Sacrifice, involving the slaughter of a lamb.
The sacrifice is an important commandment within Jewish law, which some religious authorities argues does not require the existence of a Temple for its performance.
It must, however, be conducted on the Temple Mount.
Federman and Sunnenberg are both associated with several Temple Mount organizations that insist on the right to Jewish prayer and worship at the holy site.
Both men were released a short time later although as of Tuesday night, the lamb remained in police custody.
Federman was stopped by the police close to the city center with the lamb in his car.
He said that since he had not been conducting any criminal activity, the police had detained him for infracting an Agriculture Ministry ordinance prohibiting the transport of livestock without a permit from a veterinarian.
Federman claimed that since he had made public his intentions to perform a Passover Sacrifice on the Temple Mount, the police had conducted a search in the city for his vehicle.
The Joint Association of Temple Organizations said it was concerned that the police intended to keep the lamb in administrative detention for another month, to prevent it from being brought as a sacrifice at the latest possible date, a month after the first day of Passover.
Although the Supreme Court has upheld Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount, the court allows the police to prevent prayer and other forms of worship if they believe that such activity will cause a disturbance of the public order.
The Wakf Muslim religious trust which administers the Temple Mount is fiercely opposed to any non-Muslim prayer there.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Federman said that for the police to prevent Jews from carrying out a central Jewish commandment like the Passover Sacrifice was extremely troubling.
“It’s unbelievable that Arabs are allowed to do whatever they feel like on the Temple Mount, yet Jews are forbidden from doing a mitzva which, according to Jewish law, if someone doesn’t perform incurs the punishment of spiritual excommunication,” he said.
Yehuda Glick, the association spokesman, said the Temple Mount organizations felt that that there needed to be some kind of protest at the infringement of the freedom of religion that prohibiting the performance of the Passover Sacrifice constitutes.
Asked whether the concern for public disturbance was reasonable given Muslim sensitivities, Glick said that the police exaggerate the threat and impose a de facto blanket ban on prayer and worship regardless of the situation.
He added that the police considerations should not come at the expense of freedom of religion.
Glick said the association would be very active in the new Knesset to advance legislation guaranteeing Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount.
Likud MK and Temple Mount activist Moshe Feiglin was expected to make his monthly visit to the site on Wednesday morning, with senior national-religious rabbi Dov Lior scheduled to visit on Thursday.
Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, from the national-religious Bayit Yehudi party, visited the Mount on Monday without a problem.