Mark B. Kaplan
Construction of the new bridge to the Temple Mount is frozen because of the fear of a violent response by the Arabs. Jewish Rights to pray or even offer the Korban Pesach (Passover Offering) is not being allowed under Israeli Law, as ruled by the High Court of Justice, because of what the High Court ruled is greater political concerns ("political" is used in the ruling).
Israeli Law is clear—anyone who prevents free access to religious sites or prevents the exercise of free worship is subject to a prison sentence of 5-6 years. Does the High Court have a right to rule that a law does not need to be enforced, thus allowing religious rights to be violated?
Here is the law:
Protection of Holy Places Law 5727 (1967)*
- The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places.
- a. Whosoever desecrates or otherwise violates a Holy Place shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of seven years.
b. Whosoever does anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of five years.
- This Law shall add to, and not derogate from, any other law.
- The Minister of Religious Affairs is charged with the implementation of this Law, and he may, after consultation with, or upon the proposal of, representatives of the religions concerned and with the consent of the Minister of Justice make regulations as to any matter relating to such implementation.
5. This Law shall come into force on the date of its adoption by the Knesset.
SHNEUR ZALMAN SHAZAR
* Adopted by the Knesset on 27 June 1967
Excerpt from the March 2010 High Court ruling:
"Indeed, the basic starting point is that every Jew has the right to the Temple Mount and pray there… However, these rights are not absolute and (authorities) can limit their implementation taking into account public interest… In light of the centrality and importance of the Temple Mount to many other religions, too, the danger arising from a flare up of violence is not only a local threat… what is happening on the Temple Mount affects political considerations and foreign relations of the state.”