The Jerusalem Magistrate's court ruled Friday that the Jewish Temple movement may, under state law, slaughter a sheep on Sunday as a “general rehearsal” for the renewal of the Pesach (Passover) sacrifice. The judge even called the effort "proper," but organizers have been summoned to appear at 1 PM in the District Court after an animal rights groups filed another last-minute suit.

The slaughter is planned as part of a conference dedicated to studying and restoring the Jewish observance of the Korban Pesach, as it was called since it was first observed in Egypt. At the time of the Exodus, Jews slaughtered a sheep per family group, despite its status as a deity to the Egyptian oppressors. The blood was then applied to the doorposts of the Jewish homes.

Click here for an interview with Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute on 'Temple rites vs. animal rights'

Animal rights group "Tnoo Lachayot Lichyot" ("Let the Animals Live") had argued that the planned slaughter constituted illegal cruelty to an animal.

Although the slaughter will be identical to any correctly-performed kosher slaughter, and the animal consumed in a manner resembling the popular Israeli pastime - the mangal (barbecue) - the animal rights group compared it to dog-fighting and other spectator events performed at the expense of animals' pain.

In her ruling, judge Hagit Mac-Kalmanovich said, “I was not convinced by the argument that the given event would cause the animal more pain and suffering than the accepted methods of slaughter in slaughterhouses.” 

She rejected the group’s comparison of the planned slaughter to illegal fights between animals, pointing out that only one animal was involved, and that it would not be harmed in any way prior to the actual slaughter.  The event must be allowed under laws protecting freedom of religion, she concluded.

The conference is taking place from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Yeshivat HaKotel, in the Old City of Jerusalem, overlooking the Temple Mount.

Organizers Summoned Once Conference Underway

A Tnoo Lachayot Lichyot official by the name of Yonatan arrived at Yeshivat HaKotel at around 10:15, once the conference was underway. He was accompanied by a police officer and Border Police soldier with his weapon drawn.

A summons was delivered to the organizers to appear for a 1 PM hearing on whether the slaughter will be permitted.

Arutz-7 asked Yonatan whether the suit was aimed at thwarting the planned educational program. "The main thing is that this circus not take place. They have no business having people gather around and watch as this barbaric act is perpetrated."

Asked how the event differed from any slaughter of animals by individual shochets (kosher slaughter experts), aside from the fact that the meat is going to feed the hungry, the animal rights group representative said, "I'm not interested in explaining right now, come to the court at 1 PM and see."

Maayana Miskin contributed to this report