Police: Jews Must Have Permission For Davening In The So-Called Muslim Quarter

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1The machlokes surrounding Har Habayis is not a new one. There is the machlokes among Jews, those who follow the psak of Gedolim throughout the generations; prohibiting visiting Har Habayis, and there are those who follow rabbonim today permitting visiting the holy site in compliance with halacha.

For the second group there is also the matter of compliance with regulations of the Muslim Waqf Authority, regulations enforced by Israel Police. One regulation prohibits Jews from reciting any prayer whatsoever, and one feared to be uttering holy words is immediately detained and removed from the holy site.

According to a Honenu report, on Sunday, 2 Rosh Chodesh Elul, three girls were arrested for trying to daven near the Lion’s Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City. They were questioned on suspicion of disturbing the peace and released with restrictions hours later. During the arraignment hearing, police requested distancing hem from the Old City for a period of time.

Honenu attorney David Halevy tried to understand what law was broken by their actions and why they were detained by police for simply trying to daven. Israel Police representatives representatives Safi Sarahan and Roi Avrahami explained one is permitted to daven anywhere in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, but the same is not true for the so-called Muslim Quarter, where such actions result in disturbances. When attorney Halevy asked to see where the law prohibits reciting a prayer in the Muslim Quarter, police responded it is not written but it is a matter of police using professional judgment based on their assessment of the situation.

Justice Yael Yeitav accepted the position of police in part and distanced the girls from the Muslim Quarter for a period of 15 days as well as compelling them not to be within 25 meters of any gate leading to Har Habayis.

Halevy said “This I illegal conduct by Israel Police which is seeking ‘manufactured quiet’ and has selected, albeit without authority and without anyone having broken any law, to deliver a severe blow to the freedom of moment of my clients by abusing its authority”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)