The High Court on Monday authorized a demonstration by groups protesting the banning of Jews from the Temple Mount. The demonstration is set to take place on Tuesday between 5:30 and 6:45 PM. Groups lobbying for the rights of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount called for a mass show of support against the ongoing harassment Jews face when they attempt to pray at the site.
Police had sought to ban the protest altogether, and attorneys for the rights groups took their case directly to the High Court, which ruled that police could not prevent protesters from expressing themselves on the issue.
With that, the court conceded that the protest could cause friction with Arabs – and thus restricted the time, as well as the location of the event. Originally, the protest had been set to take place outside the “Mercy Gate,” which had been traditionally been used by Jews to enter the site, but was closed off by the Muslim Waqf, which controls the Mount. The court authorized the protest only at the entrance to the Dung Gate, which is generally used by Jews to enter the area of the Kotel.
The protest was also limited to 75 minutes, during a period when Muslims are generally not at prayer.
The appeal to the court was led by Honenu civil rights organization. Speaking on behalf of plaintiffs, Honenu attorney Yitzchak Bamm said that the ongoing concessions by police to Muslims opposed to Jewish prayer on the Mount “simply encourages the violent elements among the Muslims to attack Jews and deny them their rights. In the past, the courts have clearly said that police must enforce Jewish rights even in the face of Arab violence. It seems that the only way to get the High Court to award full rights under the law is to be a leftist.
“The current situation, where one side initiates all the violence and yet gets all the support from the police cannot be allowed to continue,” he added.
Organizers of the event said that “at the end of the day, police failed in their attempt to silence the public debate on their failure to prevent the persecution of Jews on the Temple Mount. Only after we went to court did they back down and allow us to exercise our legal rights, while still demanding that the protest go on for as limited a time as possible.”