Temple Mount activists not distanced from Eastern Wall

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

Friday, October 7, 2022, 12:26 Honenu Attorney Daniel Shimshilashvili, who represented the detained Temple Mount activists, stated, “The honorable court unequivocally stated in the decision that the police must stop violating the freedom of worship at the Eastern Wall. We can only regret that the police blatantly violate legal decisions and cannot present evidence of a reasonable suspicion of a violation of the law as they claim in their requests for remanding suspects. This conduct results in their paying the defendants’ legal expenses, which is unusual in criminal proceedings. We hope that the saga of long and prolonged hearings that lead to needlessly wasting valuable court time and public funds has come to an end.”

On Tuesday afternoon, before the onset of Yom Kippur, two Temple Mount activists came to the area of the Eastern Wall with an additional activist. Knesset Members Simha Rothman and Michal Woldiger (Religious Zionism) accompanied them. The activists brought shofars to the site and blew them there due to the prohibition of bringing a shofar to the Temple Mount. Policemen detained the Temple Mount activists. This is the fifth time in the past few weeks that the police have detained Temple Mount activists at the Eastern Wall despite rulings by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court and the Jerusalem District Court at several hearings that there are no grounds to prohibit blowing a shofar at the site.

On Thursday, October 6, at a Jerusalem Magistrates Court hearing, Judge Amir Shaked rejected a request from the police to distance the two Temple Mount activists from the Eastern Wall until after the Sukkot holiday. The police asked the court to distance them from the site on the grounds that they had ignored orders from the policemen. The police claimed that the activists had disturbed public order and also presented intelligence reports in an attempt to show that shofar-blowing in the area was liable to disturb public peace. In response, Shimshilashvili said that the rights of citizens who wished to realize their freedom of worship had been violated and that they were being harassed. Shimshilashvili also presented evidence of court rulings indicating that the claim by the police that a policeman had been disturbed in the line of duty was not a reasonable suspicion in cases such as this.

In his decision, Judge Amir Shaked ruled that the reports presented during the hearing indicate that there was not a reasonable suspicion of a violation of the law. The judge leveled criticism at the police for repeatedly interpreting court decisions in a manner that justified detaining suspects, including for hours on the eve of Yom Kippur, even though the court rejected their requests to hold the suspects. In light of that, the court imposed payment of legal expenses on the police: 2,000 NIS for each detainee, to be paid within 30 days.

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