Youths indicted for “Shema Yisrael” on Temple Mount

Monday, August 26, 2019, 20:10 The police filed an unusual and precedential indictment against three youths for conduct liable to disrupt the public peace and disturbing a policeman in the line of duty when they ascended the Temple Mount approximately one year ago. During their visit they prostrated themselves and said the “Shema Yisrael” prayer, which led to their being removed from the Temple Mount by policemen present at the site. Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski noted that this is a “scandalous indictment. The Arabs do as they please on the Temple Mount without giving an account. They actively violate public order and hide weapons, and the Israeli Police find it correct to charge Jews only for saying the “Shema Yisrael” prayer. It’s simply insane.”
The bill of indictment states that approximately one year ago the three youths were briefed on the rules of conduct on the Temple Mount and participated in a tour of the site in a group of dozens of people. The charges against the youths are described: “When the visitors reached the area opposite the Dome of the Rock–the Nikanor Gate, defendant no. 3 prostrated himself on the ground and recited the ‘Shema Yisrael’ prayer. After him defendant no. 1 prostrated himself on the ground as he recited the ‘Shema Yisrael’ prayer and then sang. After him defendant no. 2 prostrated himself on the ground and also he recited the ‘Shema Yisrael’ prayer.”
Consequently the youths were required to accompany the policemen off of the Temple Mount. In the bill of indictment the youths are accused of intentionally slowing their pace and of reciting the “Shema Yisrael” prayer again when they reached the Al-Aqsa plaza “so loudly that Muslim worshipers who were present on the mosque plaza began to gather around them and around the policemen who had detained them, and began to call out against Jews.”
Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski, who recently began representing one of the defendants, criticized the actual filing of the indictment: “This is an irregular, scandalous indictment. The police have not filed indictments in clear cases of disturbing public order, other than in the most serious cases which have included unusual violence. All in all, the youths recited the ‘Shema Yisrael’ prayer on the Temple Mount.
“The Arabs do as they please on the Temple Mount without giving an account to anyone, and the police do not lift a finger, not about the magnetometers (metal detectors) or the weapons they discover, time after time. Several days ago two Arab youths left the Temple Mount and stabbed a policeman at the Iron Gate. In this instance the Arabs began to gather around the youths and to shout at them, and the police did not file an indictment against even one of them, not even one.
“The Israeli Police turn a blind eye to serious violations of public order by the Arabs, which occur almost daily, but when youths recite ‘Shema Yisrael’, the police prefer to be strict with the Jews, over a mere concern that it will cause rioting by the Arabs. This indictment is an embarrassment. Does anyone in the State of Israel in 2019 really think that reciting ‘Shema Yisrael’ constitutes a criminal violation?”
For a selection of cases in which Honenu Attorneys represented Jews detained on or near the Temple Mount please see here.

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