A Jewish man was arrested yesterday on Monday afternoon on the Temple Mount after Israeli security overheard the individual reciting a prayer for the sick. The arrest came shortly after a rabbi from Beit Shemesh was arrested earlier in the day on similar grounds. While the latter was released shortly thereafter, the arrests demonstrate the extent to which the Israeli government seems determined to uphold the status quo of the Temple Mount.
Under the current agreement with Jordan and the Waqf, the organization charged with managing religious affairs on the Mount, Jews are only permitted to visit during specific hours and all forms of praying at any time are strictly prohibited.
Commenting on the matter, Israeli Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld told TPS that while the Temple Mount is open to Jews, Christians and Muslims within the framework of prior agreements, there are strict codes of conduct to which visitors must adhere.
“Anyone, Jews and Christians, who do not keep to the strict behavior rules on the Temple Mount is removed from the area or escorted out to prevent any incidents from taking place,” he told TPS.
Rosenfeld flatly rejected the suggestion that the stringency of the criteria for such removals or arrests had increased given the current continuation of violence. On the contrary, he said that despite the terror attacks which have inflicted countless injuries and killed more than 20 Israelis, the need for police action on the Temple Mount is no higher than usual.
“It has actually been relatively quiet in the last few weeks despite the attacks. The last few Fridays there were no age limits imposed on Arabs who could pray on the Temple Mount. It is fully functioning without any problems,” Rosenfeld claimed.
Nevertheless, some Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount who are escorted during the permitted times by security personnel, have expressed that there is a large degree of hypocrisy and selective enforcement of the law.
Hillel Glick, the son of activist Yehudah Glick, who was shot last year for his Temple Mount activism, told TPS that while he does not believe that the arrests and removals have become any more common as a result of the wave of terror, a large degree of hypocrisy exists when it comes to enforcing the law.
“The situation was always strict. The police always followed us and searched for things that we may have done in an exaggerated fashion,” Glick said.
Referring to the Islamic groups (Murabitat and Murabitan) which were financed by the recently outlawed branch of the Islamic Movement to harass Jewish visitors with screams of “Allahu akbar”, Glick described the enforcement as grossly unequal. “They scream and clearly disrupt all the time on Temple Mount. Yet they are never arrested on the spot. Sometimes police might catch them afterward but they don’t do anything,” Glick told TPS
After a brief delay in the entry of Jewish groups visiting the Temple Mount on Tuesday, December 8, visits continued as usual with no arrests made.