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No More Big Brother on Temple Mount

Legal rights group stops police registration of Jews only at Temple Mount.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 4/15/2012, 5:20 PM

Temple Mount
Temple Mount
Flash 90

Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount won a legal victory Sunday, with police deciding they will no longer record the names of Jewish entrants to the holy site. The decision came after activists threatened to take the matter to the High Court.

The issue of discriminatory registration came to light thanks to alert Jewish visitors to the Mount, Attorney Naftali Wertzberger told Arutz Sheva. Visitors saw that Muslims and other non-Jews who entered were asked to show IDs and then allowed to enter, while when Jews entered, police took their ID cards and wrote something in a notebook before letting them pass.

In addition, some Jews who were questioned by police were asked about previous visits to the Temple Mount at specific times, giving more proof that police were keeping track of Jewish entrance to the site.

“It’s a disgrace to have lists like that in a democratic state,” said Wertzberger. “Nowhere are entrance lists like that kept so that someday they can be used by ‘Big Brother,’ and the Temple Mount cannot be the one place it happens.”

Police defended the procedure, saying it was needed to “keep the peace,” Wertzberger noted. The argument did not suffice in light of the fact that only Jewish names were recorded, he said. Violence on the Mount is typically not Jewish.

After activists warned police that they would take the matter to the High Court, “the police did some thinking, and this morning their legal adviser told us the procedure has been canceled, and from now on everybody will be identified through ID cards alone,” Wertzberger relayed. If police continue to discriminate against Jews in the identification process “we will not remain silent,” he added.

Police have upset Jews with discriminatory practices on the Temple Mount in the past. The Zionist Organization of America recently sent a letter to Israeli leaders urging them to ensure "unfettered access" to the holy site.