Jerusalem courts reject church’s claim of trespassing

Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski; Photo credit: Honenu

Thursday, June 22, 2023, 16:42 The Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem asked the Jerusalem Police to remove a Jewish man who has been sleeping in a public area – that the Church claims is theirs – near King David’s Tomb for the past few months. He refused to leave the site, insisting that it is a public area. The Jerusalem Police detained the Jewish man several times for trespassing and asked the courts to ban him from the site because the Church claims the area as their property. The Jerusalem Magistrates and District Courts rejected the request and ruled that because the site is public property, the man may stay at the site.

He was recently detained, and at the beginning of this week, at a Jerusalem Magistrates Court hearing, the police asked for a three-day remand extension. The court refused and released the detainee. The police appealed the decision to the Jerusalem District Court, and they also denied the request. Honenu Attorneys Moshe Poleski and Nati Rom represented the detainee.

Attorney Poleski welcomed the court’s decision: “The Israel Police are acting illegally, without any authority, and contrary to several legal decisions that were given on the matter. A citizen spread a mat in an area designated for public use on Mount Zion, found himself detained behind bars three times because the Greek Orthodox Church asked the police to remove him from the site, and the Israel Police even asked the court to ban the man from the site although it is an area open to the general public. This is simply a scandal. The time has come for the Merchav David Police Station to devote their resources to Arab rioters in the Old City and not to assist the Greek Orthodox Church with excluding Jews and banning them from Mount Zion.”

Honenu Attorney Nati Rom; Photo credit: Honenu

Attorney Rom added, “The area in question is a public area in which anyone may stay. It is difficult to understand why the Israel Police is taking the trouble to invest so many resources in pursuing my client, including filing many procedures in various courts that repeatedly explain to them that the appropriate proceedings in the case are civilian, not criminal. My client lives on the streets and has lived at this site for over a year. There is no reason for him to be repeatedly detained. It is odd that the Israel Police is working for the Greek Patriarchy and wasting valuable public resources on this case. The police should devote their energy and resources to the war on serious crime and eradicating terror from the capital city of Israel.”

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