Temple Mount activists detained with lamb unconditionally released

For a selection of cases in which Honenu Attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount, please click here.

Scene of the detention; Photo credit: Arab social media

Tuesday, June 20, 2023, 14:16 On Tuesday, June 20, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court unconditionally released two Temple Mount activists. They had been detained with a lamb at the gates to the Temple Mount the previous day. Police officers detained the activists on suspicion of planning an attempt to sacrifice the lamb on the Temple Mount. When the activists were brought to court on Tuesday, the police requested a four-day extension on their remand because they had disrupted public order and disturbed police officers in the line of duty. The police went so far as to claim that the activists’ actions prove that they pose a danger.

Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who represented the activists, claimed in court that Jews are not prohibited from bringing sheep into the Old City of Jerusalem. He also claimed that allowing Jews to enter the Temple Mount through the Mughrabi Gate only is a discriminatory regulation. Attorney Rom further claimed that the lamb that the activists were carrying was not suitable for a sacrifice and that at most it was brought as a symbolic act. As for the police claim that they posed a danger and disturbed public order, Attorney Rom noted that groups of Muslims and Christians had passed the site without paying attention to either the activists or the sheep. The court accepted his claims and unconditionally released the two activists. The police requested a delay in carrying out the decision, which was not granted.

The Hozrim L’Har (Returning to the [Temple] Mount) Movement welcomed the ruling. “We are pleased by the court’s decision that asserted the obvious: There were no grounds for detaining the activists. It is our fundamental right and obligation to conduct activities with the goal of establishing Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount, as well as demanding the renewal of sacrifices. This is permitted according to Jewish law even today. Our activists will continue to come to the Temple Mount on the first day of the month, every month, attempting to reinstate the daily sacrifice.”

Honenu Attorney Nati Rom added, “It is saddening that in 2023, in the democratic State of Israel, two young men walking through the Old City of Jerusalem with a lamb can be detained, despite not having committed any crime. The selective law enforcement, not to mention discriminating against adherents of one particular religion, in the Old City of Jerusalem, is unacceptable, undemocratic, and a significant violation of human rights. It must stop immediately. I hope that all those defending human rights will support the activists in their struggle for freedom of movement, expression, and worship.”

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