JERUSALEM – A ten-year-old minor was almost arrested Tuesday morning (Jun. 3) by Israeli police after prostrating himself on the Temple Mount, and by doing so “breaking the rules” laid down by the police for Jewish worshipers on the Mount. The boy’s mother shared with Tazpit News Agency the events that transpired.
The incident began when a group of Israeli worshipers ascended the Mount for a pre-Shavuot [Pentecost] visit. They were tersely briefed by a police officer before they entered the compound on the many actions they were prohibited from taking as worshipers. One of the prohibitions is on prostration. It is of significance to note that prostration is prohibited for Jews by the police,but not illegal under Israeli law. Prostration is fully permissible for Muslims on the Mount.
The group began their tour of the Mount, and at some point a ten year old boy chose to prostrate himself. At that point there were no Muslims in sight to be offended by this daring act. One of the Waqf, who accompany and often harass Jewish worshipers on the Mount, notified the police on this breach of protocol. About five minutes later, heeding the Waqf’s complaint, a police officer approached the boy and told him he was under arrest.
At this point the boy’s mother, Anat Schwartz, a lawyer, intervened, contending the officer’s right to arrest the boy and demanding he state the charges against the minor. The officer immediately alerted his commanding officer who arrived at the scene.
The police then demanded that the mother/lawyer and child accompany them, but Schwartz made it clear that police have no legal authority to delay or arrest them for her young son’s actions.
The officer, understanding he was up against a defiant mother and lawyer, backed down and allowed the visit to continue. No charges were lodged against the two.
A police spokesperson later announced that two Israelis, one of them only 14 years old, were detained for “breaking the rules.”
The rules diligently enforced against Jewish worship on the Temple Mount, including the prohibition to pray, prostrate, tear ones clothes in a sign of mourning and the like, are not statutory and are probably the result of an agreements between the Kingdom of Jordan and senior officials of the Israeli government. No such limitations are set against Muslims worshipers.