“Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil…” (Psalm 28:2–3)
One week after being released from a 30-year ban from the Temple Mount, Jewish activist Yehuda Etzion visited the Temple Mount for the Fast of Tevet on December 22, only to be arrested for lifting his hands.
After being confronted by a police officer for having his hands raised for a long period of time during his visit, Etzion asked if he had committed a crime.
When the police officer would not respond, Etzion refused to leave and thereafter was carried off the grounds by four police officers while Muslims in the vicinity chanted “Allahu achbar” (“Allah is greater”).
The police claimed Etzion was using his hands for surreptitious prayer. (JP)
The Temple Mount is the only place in Israel where religious discrimination is the de facto status quo. This status quo is supported by the international community including United States Secretary of State John Kerry.
The ban against all non-Muslim prayer persists in an effort to prevent violence.
“Anyone, Jews and Christians, who do not keep to the strict behavior rules on the Temple Mount is removed from the area or escorted out to prevent any incidents from taking place,” said Israeli Superintendent Mick Rosenfeld to The Jewish Press on other arrests earlier in the month. (BIN)
On a much more serious charge, Etzion was arrested in 1984 and sentenced to seven years in prison for plotting to blow up the golden Dome of the Rock as part of a radical underground movement to usher in national redemption. His 30-year ban from the hot-button mountain was a direct consequence, but his actions this past week cannot be seen as criminal, according to his attorney.
“It is very serious that the Israel Police is allowed to curse, insult and disrupt Jews visiting the Mount on the fast day marking the start of the destruction of the Temple, and on the other hand picking on Jews based on such infantile charges,” said Attorney Rehavia Filtz of the Honenu NGO, a Zionist legal-rights organization. (Arutz Sheva)
The Tenth of Tevet, which is a fast day from dawn to dusk, marked the siege of Jerusalem by Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar.
Etzion was released with help by Honenu, which represents about 1,000 Israelis per year who are arrested for actions connected to their love for Israel. (JP)
On December 7, during the eight days of Chanukah to celebrate the restoration of the Temple, a Beit Shemesh rabbi was arrested upon suspicion that he had said the “Aleinu” prayer on the Mount.
A second Jewish person was arrested on the Temple Mount on the same day after claims that they were praying the “Mi Sheberach” prayer for the sick.