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"Change Of Approach" In Supreme Court

A Supreme Court Justice instructed Public Security Minister HaNegbi to submit an affidavit explaining the sudden closure of the Temple Mount to non-Moslems.

First Publish: 8/5/2003, 6:44 PM

Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner instructed Public Security Minister Tzachi HaNegbi to submit, by tomorrow, an affidavit explaining the closure of the Temple Mount to non-Moslems. HaNegbi must explain why he bans entry to the Mount now, after several weeks of allowing Jews to enter.

Today's ruling was the result of a petition filed by the Temple Mount Faithful against the closure. It will be recalled that the police announced last week, suddenly and without explanation, that the holy site would be closed for "operative reasons."

In response to the petition, the State filed a secret memorandum explaining the security reasons behind the closure. Justice Dorner, however, was not satisfied with the police report, and instructed HaNegbi to explain his decision himself.

Atty. Naftali Wurtzberger expressed surprised satisfaction at today's decision. "The Court made it clear," he said, "that it will not suffice with general declarations, but will insist on seeing specific explanations, and will balance them with the basic civil rights that are being harmed. This is a welcome change of approach by the Court."

The petitioners also asked that the police withdraw their objections to the traditional Temple Mount Faithful march in the Old City on Tisha B'Av. The march has been held for years with police approval, and the organizers do not understand what has changed. Justice Dorner said she will decide tomorrow, and in the meantime the sides should try to reach a compromise. Jerusalem Chief Police Chief Mickey Levy was not pleased, and spat out during the hearing, "Forget get about any compromise!"

Another Tisha B'Av march is scheduled for 9:30 Wednesday night. It will begin at Safra Square, continuing to the New Gate (several meters to the east of the end of Jaffa Rd.), Damascus Gate, Lions Gate, Flower Gate, Dung Gate and the Western Wall. The promenade atop the Old City wall from Jaffa Gate to Dung Gate will be open tomorrow, free of charge, from 5-10 PM, and from Jaffa Gate to Lions Gate on Thursday from 9 AM to 5 PM.