Religious freedom, not in the State of Israel. Mrs. Tziporah Filch, a mother of nine and a tour guide on Har Habayis was arrested on suspicion of davening on Har Habayis. It is reported that she is pregnant as well.
Over 100 Jews visited Har Habayis on Thursday, 11 Menachem Av, culminating with her arrest. She was apprehended reciting Tehillim.
According to eyewitness reports, Filch was on the holy site with a number of her children. They children were taken aside and police took her into custody. They were left alone for over an hour until police permitted them to enter the police station to be with their mother.
In another Har Habayis incident, Honenu reports a group of Jewish youths went up to Har Habayis on Wednesday morning 10 Menachem Av. After the group exited they began to dance and sing near the Chain Gate, which is permitted and common. For an unclear reason the policemen decided to shove the dancing youths. At some point one of the group, a youth approximately 19-years-old, was detained by policemen on suspicion of disturbing a policeman in the line of duty and disturbing the peace. The detainee was taken to the Kishleh Police Station in the Old City of Jerusalem for interrogation.
Attorney Rechavia Piltz arrived at the police station and worked on behalf of Honenu for the release of the detainee, who refused to agree to the restraining order banning him from entering the Old City of Jerusalem offered by the interrogators as a condition for release. In the end, the detainee was unconditionally released.
Honenu responded to the detention: “At a time when Arabs are rioting every day in the streets of the Old City of Jerusalem and in East Jerusalem it is difficult for us to comprehend why the Jerusalem Police chose to detain a Jew whose only crime was dancing at a gate to the Temple Mount, the most holy place to the Jewish nation.”
Regarding visiting Har Habayis, there are rabbonim who have indicated one may visit Har Habayis after one learns the pertinent halachos and prepares oneself as required. Leading dati leumi poskim including Rabbi Dov Lior Shlita is among these rabbis, who site visits are permitted if the appropriate halachic restrictions are adhered to.
However, this view is not accepted by poskei hador shlita, who remain opposed to Jews visiting Har Habayis. This is and remains the view of poskei hador. This is also the view of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Among the rabbonim who share this view are HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Halevy Wosner Shlita, HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein Shlita, Maran HaGaon HaRav Aaron Yehuda Leib Shteinman Shlita, Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZT”L, Maran Hagon HaRav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ZT”l and many others.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)