A Jerusalem district police officer arrested a Jewish minor on the Temple Mount on Wednesday during the intermediary days of the Sukkot holiday, on suspicion that the youth mumbled a silent prayer at the holiest site in Judaism.
Compounding the arrest on the site where the Jordanian Waqf continues to enjoy de facto control and has banned Jews from praying – a demand Israeli police appear eager to enforce despite Israeli law stipulating freedom of worship – was the harsh police treatment of the minor.
The youth was detained for a full five hours as police did not give him food or drink, even though he hadn't eaten since 8 a.m.
His family notes that he was held together with Arab terrorists who were arrested for conducting assaults on the Temple Mount, and was even brought into detention together with two of them in the same patrol car, as seen in video of the arrest in which the father is heard asking for his son not to be held together with the terrorists.
After having his cell phone taken from him, the minor was told to sign a declaration saying nothing had been taken from him, to which he of course refused. The request appears to have been a tactic to seize his cell phone without any legal reason to do so.
At the end of his grueling investigation he was forced to give samples of his fingerprint according to the family, which added that the officer leading the investigation used crude words while talking to the minor after his father was removed from the investigation room.
The police asked the Jewish youth to sign an agreement to distance himself for 15 days from the Temple Mount, and after he refused to sign he was given a distancing order for one day and summoned to court tomorrow (Thursday).
"There is no reason in the world why a Jewish youth who didn't do a single bad thing to anyone and didn't break any law and didn't do any provocation, who only mumbled things silently to himself – even if they were prayers – should experience these horrors," said the family of the youth.
The incident is in fact the second such illustration on Wednesday of the discriminatory status quo on the Temple Mount, where Jews are arrested for even the hint of a prayer while Arab rioters attack police and Jewish visitors and in most cases get off scot-free.
Prominent nationalist activist and attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir was detained and questioned by the police as he visited the Temple Mount on Wednesday, after he responded to Muslim extremists' shouts of "Allahu Akbar" (Allah is greater) by calling out the popular Hebrew slogan "Am Yisrael chai!" (The nation of Israel lives!)
"We didn't return to our land to hear that the sentence 'the nation of Israel lives' is forbidden to say," Ben-Gvir said in a statement. "They didn't detain those (Muslims) who shouted at me – this is a racist policy by the police which harms democracy and freedom of expression."