A young couple performed the Jewish rites of marriage on the Temple Mount, the holiest site to the Jews, despite being watched by Waqf guards who actively prevent Jews from praying on the site.
Tom Nisani, chairman of the Students for the Temple Mount and activities director for the non-governmental organization (NGO) Im Tirzu (if you wish it), recited the seven blessings and placed a ring on the finger Sara Lurcat on Thursday while on the Temple Mount.
In contravention of a ruling by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in 2015 mandating equality of religious rights to pray on the Temple Mount, Waqif (Muslim Authority) guards, aided by the Israeli Police, remove non-Muslims who attempt to pray on the Temple Mount. Due to Muslim violence, Jewish visits to the site have been restricted. For this reason, the young couple was forced to wed surreptitiously, dressing in casual attire.
For a Jewish marriage to take effect, it must be performed in front of two witnesses and the groom must present the bride with an object of clear value, traditionally a ring.
The groom explained on the video that there was some urgency in performing the ceremony since the three-week period of solemnity in which it is traditional not to marry begins soon. Poignantly, the three weeks end on the Ninth of Av, when Jews commemorate the destruction of the Jewish Temples.
The groom placed the ring on Sara’s finger, reciting the words, “Behold, you are betrothed to me with this ring, according to the laws of Moses and Israel”, while guards and police wandered past unaware of what was happening. Normally, Jewish weddings are quite festive, but the wedding group remained subdued in order to not alert the guards.
“Three years ago, Sarah and I met at the entrance to the Temple Mount. Since then, we have experienced the injustices, hardships and also the beauty, depth, and holiness of the Temple Mount, the holiest place in the world for the Jewish people,” Nisani said.
They intend to hold another ceremony in one month.
A similar covert marriage was held at the site in 2016, but according to most sources, that was the first time a wedding ceremony had been held on the Temple Mount in 11 years.
Police say Nisani will be investigated for violating regulations at the site, and may be placed on a list of activists and members of parliament banned from the site.