Jewish Youth Arrested on Temple Mount for Praying
A 16-year-old Jew was arrested on the Temple Mount on Wednesday, after members of the Jordanian Waqf (Islamic trust) ordered Israeli police to do so.
The Waqf members said they had seen the youth's lips moving as he said a silent prayer. The Waqf has forbidden any kind of prayer by Jews at the site of the two Jewish Temples, the holiest site for Judaism. The Temple Mount is under the Waqf's de facto rule.
Yehuda Glick, director of the Liba Project for Jewish Freedom at the Temple Mount, spoke to Arutz Sheva about the incident, reporting that the youth was part of a group of 40 Jews who ascended the Mount. The group was closely trailed by police and Waqf members.
The visibly religious youth, who sported peot (sidelocks) and a large kippah, was discriminated against, noted Glick.
"The situation on the Temple Mount is completely ridiculous, and can't continue," remarked Glick, calling for the holy site to become a place of peace instead of conflict and violence.
Speaking about the Jews who were able to pray on the site despite being warned not to on Israeli Independence Day on Tuesday, Glick noted that they did so as an organized group, whereas the youth tried to pray privately and in quiet. Muslim entrance to the site was limited on Tuesday to prevent violence against Jewish visitors.
Violence was used by Israeli police later on Tuesday, however, as members of the "Hozrim La'har" ('Return to the Mount') activist group marched toward the Temple Mount, demanding full Israeli sovereignty over the site. Two activists were injured by police and six were arrested for disturbing the peace, including a fifteen year-old girl.
Glick called for an arrangement to be implemented by which Jews would be guaranteed the religious freedom to ascend and pray at their holy site without fearing arrest, and without worrying about whether anyone might see their lips moving.
At the conference, Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Eli Ben-Dahan announced that his office is working on new regulations to allow Jews to pray at the Temple Mount.