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Jew recites the "Shema" prayer on the Temple Mount. (Archive: 2013)

A young Jewish man was arrested on the Temple Mount Thursday afternoon, for suspicion of saying “Shema Israel,” legal aid society Honenu reported. The detainee is being represented by a Honenu attorney.

The latest time to say the Shema on Thursday according to Jewish law was 9:27:29 AM, which suggests the young man was only reading the verse, rather than uttering it as part of his daily prayer, and should argue for a reduced sentence (Berachot 10b).

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On the other hand, the young man could have been a Hasid, in which case he may have considered his uttering of the Shema to be part of his morning prayer, and his punishment should thus be more severe.

Regarding Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, the 2010 US State Dept. report on religious freedom round the world apparently finds it disturbing that “a government policy since 1967, upheld repeatedly by the Supreme Court and routinely enforced by the police, denies religious freedom at the Temple Mount to all non-Muslims, although the government ensured limited access to the historic site to everyone regardless of religious beliefs. Only Muslims were allowed to pray at the site, although their access has been occasionally restricted due to security concerns. The police accompanied Jewish visitors to the site and removed them if they appear to be praying. Since 2000 the Jordanian Waqf that managed the site restricted all non-Muslims from entering the Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa Mosque.”

However, the 2014 DOS report on religious freedom appears to approve of the fact that the Israeli government limits Jewish religious observance at the Temple Mount, “though some Jewish groups sought to either legally overturn this policy or modify it to permit Jewish prayer, actions that were at times followed by a violent response from Muslim worshippers.”

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