Jordan Angered by Israeli Court Ruling That Allows Jews to Pray Outside Temple Mount

April 4, 2018

2 min read

The Jordanian government filed an official complaint with the Israeli Foreign Ministry, objecting to a recent ruling by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court stating that it is not illegal for Jews to pray outside the Temple Mount.

According to Israel’s Channel 10,  Jordan charged Israel with “violating the status quo in the area and is carrying out extreme provocations that harm relations between our two countries.”

The “status quo” refers to a long-held arrangement between Jerusalem and Amman whereby Jordan became the religious custodian over the Temple Mount. According to the agreement, Jews may still visit the Temple Mount, which is the holiest site for the Jewish people, however, only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount compound.

Jordan’s ire concerns the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court’s decision 10 days ago to reject a request by Israeli police to restrict three 14-year-old Jewish girls who had bowed down outside a closed gated entrance to the Temple Mount, from accessing the compound. The police cited security concerns, claiming the girls’ actions might provoke Muslim violence.

“This [phenomenon] began on the Temple Mount, is continuing into the Old City, and what is the next stage? Someone will take out a prayer book on Jaffa Street and will be told that this is a provocation?” challenged the counsel for the defense, Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Judge Shmuel Harbest, a judge who ruled in the case, agreed with Ben Gvir’s argument

“In a democratic state, we do not distance and certainly do not arrest citizens who want to pray in a place where one is allowed to pray,” he wrote in the court’s ruling, adding that it is “the responsibility of a democratic state” to allow the girls to be present at the site and pray there unimpeded.”

Ben Gvir issued a statement, criticizing the Jordanian complaint as “first degree chutzpah (audacity).”

“I expect the prime minister to summon the Jordanian ambassador for a reprimand and explain to him that it is the right of Israeli citizens to pray everywhere in Jerusalem,” Ben Gvir said.

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