Assessment: Muslim Friday prayers on temple mount – no problem …
On Monday, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s court ruled in favor of three young Jewish men who the police had barred from the Temple Mount for bowing to God and reciting the ‘Shema.’ Judge Zion Saharay said that he did not consider bowing down and reciting a prayer sufficient cause to curtail freedom of religion for fear it would cause a disturbance at the site.
The teens were arrested last week and given a 15-day restraining order prohibiting them from entering the Old City of Jerusalem. In the application for the restrictive conditions, the police claim that their conduct may lead to a violation of public order. The teens filed an appeal against the order.
It should be noted that the Torah commands Jews to prostrate themselves on the Temple Mount, and it is strictly forbidden for a Jew to prostrate himself in prayer in any other location.
“It said to me: O mortal, this is the place of My throne and the place for the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people Yisrael forever. The House of Yisrael and their kings must not again defile My holy name by their apostasy and by the corpses of their kings at their death. Ezekiel 43:7 (The Israel BibleTM)
(The bowing in the Temple and Synagogue finds its roots in the Temple custom to bow at each gate in Temple. The relationship between gates and prayer is a common theme in Jewish literature)
In his ruling on the appeal on Sunday, the judge wrote, “In my opinion, it is not possible to say that bowing and reciting Shema holds a reasonable suspicion of conduct that may lead to a breach of peace, as required by law. It is difficult to imagine a situation in which shouting ‘Shema Yisrael’ on the Temple Mount would constitute a criminal offense of an act that could lead to a breach of the peace.”
The judge also cited a statement made by Police Chief Kobi Shabtai last May when he vowed to “ensure freedom of religion for “all residents of the country and the territories” at the Temple Mount.
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