Temple Mount activist groups are suing the police for “racist discrimination” and for tens of thousands of dollars in damages after the law enforcement agency closed the holy site to hundreds of Jews on Tisha B’Av Tuesday.
The police had promised on Monday to open the site to Jews for limited visiting hours. Earlier on Monday, the police escorted Jews off the Temple Mount for the second time in five days after Muslims barged into the group and threatened them to leave. (See video below.)
Among those who waited in vain to ascend the Temple Mount were two Knesset Members, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin of the Likud and the other Jewish Home MK Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli.
Activists who encourage Jews to ascend to the Holy site warned on Monday that the police would close the site. In response, police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told the Jewish Press on Monday “it would be open as usual, depending on security.”
Police usually allow Jews to visit the Temple Mount for approximately two hours, until 11 a.m. However, at 7 a.m. Tuesday, on the Tisha B’Av day that marks the mourning of the destruction of the First and Second Holy Temples, the police stated it would not be open to Jews and other religions – except Muslims.
The explanation was that “security assessments” dictated that the Temple Mount would be off limits “to all visitors, in order to prevent disturbances.”
Attorney Aviad Visuly, acting on behalf of Temple Mount groups, said he is suing the police for compensation and also is demanding explanations from the police as well as the firing of its Jerusalem district commander, Yossi Parienti.”
He pointed out that the closure of the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av at a.m. came at a time when “there almost no one there and when there were no disturbances.”
“This is racist anti-Jewish discrimination, while Jews are not at all suspect in riots and disturbances on the Temple Mount, “ where Muslims routinely riot and threaten Jews, the lawsuit adds.
It noted that the Supreme Court has scolded the police several times for not putting a stop to violence on the Temple Mount and for a policy that prevents Jews from ascending the site and praying, The court has warned that police polices may not be legal.
The lawsuit, besides demanding that Parienti be fired, wants answers to several question by next Monday:
- Who decided to close the Temple Mount to Jews on Tisha B’Av?
- What were the reasons?
- What measures did the police take to prevent the closure?
- Why was the Temple Mount closed to Jews and other religions and not to Muslims?
- Was the political establishment involved n the decision?
- How many police were no hand to prepare for disturbances?
- How will police keep the Temple Mount from being closed to Jews in the future?
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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