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Jerusalem Court Overturns 40-Year Prayer Ban on Temple Mount

March 10, 2015

“‘For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.’  The Sovereign Lord declares—He who gathers the exiles of Israel:  ‘I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.'”  (Isaiah 56:7–8)

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court awarded Jewish Temple Mount activist and tour guide Yehuda Glick who survived an assassination attempt last year, a quarter of a million dollars (NIS 500,000) in damages for an “arbitrary” police ban that forbid him from visiting the holy Mount between 2011 and 2013.

The ruling also overturned a gentlemen’s agreement of more than 40 years between Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan, which blocked Jewish prayer on the Mount—an agreement meant to preserve peace between the two nations.

“This is the first ruling and certainly the broadest in scope, in which the courts have paved the way for the practical application of the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.  From this day forth every Jew has legal authorization to pray on the Temple Mount,” Glick’s attorney, Aviad Visoli, said.  (Temple Institute)

Yehudah Glick-Temple Mount

Yehudah Glick helps a child understand the history of the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount.  (Photo by Amitay Salomon)

The state ban against Glick’s ascension to the Mount, the site of God’s Ancient Temple, was placed on him after a television broadcast showed him praying there.

The court found that the police ban against Glick was given “without appropriate consideration, was arbitrary, and only out of concern for the consequences of the broadcast.”  (JTA)

Glick was also awarded about $37,600 (NIS 150,000) in legal costs.

Since Israel’s recapture of the Temple Mount in the 1967 Six-Day War, the Jewish state practiced a self-imposed restriction on Jewish prayer while visiting the Mount as a goodwill gesture to limit tensions with the Kingdom of Jordan, which had occupied the Mount from 1949–1967.


General Narkis, Defense Minister Moshe Dayan with Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin and General Rehavam Zeevi (R) (who were both assassinated) walk through the Old City of Jerusalem in June, 1967 after winning the city back from Jordan.

Those who accuse the state of Israel of trying to change the “status quo” of the Temple Mount are referring simply to letting Jews pray there.

Among Muslim factions, however, the “Jewish concession” to abstain from their historical right to pray where the Jewish Temple once stood is wrongly interpreted as the Jews feel they do not have that right to pray on the Temple mount.

The result of this Jewish concession to keep the peace is a Muslim-Jewish status quo that has at its core a racist or religious bias against the Jewish People.

However, on Monday, Magistrates’ Court Judge Malka Aviv strongly criticized the policy of Israel’s Jerusalem police to silence the prayers of Jewish pilgrims.

“There is nothing in the deeds of the plaintiff [Glick] that justified in any way the punishment that he received, not in the ban itself and not in the extended period [of the ban],” Aviv stated.

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While Muslims enjoy free access to the Temple Mount, Jewish and Christian visitors have a police escort both for their own protection from Muslims and to prevent them from praying.  (Photo by Michael Jones)

The Magistrate Court’s ruling forms a historical defense for the Jewish People and their right to pray where King Solomon’s Temple once stood.  According to Judge Aviv, police “must make sure that Jews are able to pray on the Temple Mount.”  (RT)

Although the Palestinian Authority and Israel both claim sovereignty over the Mount, Israel has maintained legal authority over it since 1967; however, in establishing its peace treaty with Jordan, Israel gave administrative privileges over the Mount to the Islamic Waqf. 

Nevertheless, the Waqf has not intervened on hundreds of occasions where Hamas has funded and Islamists have incited riots on the Mount by throwing stones and aiming fireworks at police or by obstructing Jewish visitors.

To calm the escalating violence on the Mount late last year, Prime Minister Netanyahu assured Jordan’s King Abdullah and US Secretary of State John Kerry that he would not change the status quo.  This promise could stay in effect if the police win their planned appeal.

In the meantime, the police insist on continuing to enforce the illegal restriction of Jewish prayer.

“The Jerusalem police have determined that the court ruling in question dealt with the issue of monetary damages [by the police to be paid to an individual], and is currently pending, and that the verdict of the magistrate court is not binding on the state of Israel.  The verdict will be appealed [by the police] in the near future,” a statement by the Office of the Spokesperson of the Jerusalem Police said.  (Temple Institute) 

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