Jewish visitors on Temple Mount
Jewish visitors on Temple MountZac Wajsgras/Flash90

Jerusalem Magistrate Court judge Mika Banki placed a lenient restraining order on a Muslim Waqf member who reportedly attacked a Jew who bowed down on Temple Mount. She gave a heavier penalty to the victim and his friend who were arrested after a melee broke out at the site, the holiest in Judaism.

According to a report by the Honenu organization which provides legal aid to Jews charged with offences against the State, on Wednesday morning when the two went up to Temple Mount with friends from their yeshiva, one of them bowed down before they left the site and, according to police reports, a Waqf representative kicked him and said "this is our territory."

A brawl ensued and in the course of it another Jew was arrested on suspicion of attacking the Waqf representative and because he mistakenly hit a police officer.

The three detainees were brought before a judge Thursday. Police requested to prevent them entering Temple Mount for 180 days and to make them post a 1,000 shekel guarantee. They also requested that the Jewish detainees should be prevented from establishing contact with their friends from the Yeshiva for 180 days, as well as forbidding the Waqf representative to contact Waqf members.

However Judge Banki elected to be lenient with the Arab aggressor and to punish the Jewish victims. She ruled that the Waqf member would be prevented from entering Temple Mount for 15 days while the Jews would be prevented for 60 days. The judge did not distinguish between the two Jews, one of whom had simply bowed down while the other had assaulted other people. She maintained instead that there should be a distinction between the Waqf member living in Jerusalem and the two Yeshiva students who do not reside there.

The Temple Mount, however, is holy to Jews the world over.

Honenu Attorney Zev Wolf, who represented the two, announced that he would appeal the decision.

"If there is a reason to fear dangerous behavior which warrants preventing individuals from entering Temple Mount, it makes no difference if the person is a resident of Jerusalem or not," said Wolf. "The court's decision pardons the aggressor and punishes the victim and it will be received as a message to Waqf members that they can act aggressively towards Jewish visitors. It gives justification to their acting as lords over the place and presents Jews as provocateurs whereas the truth is that Muslim Waqf members instigate frequent provocations and violence while Jews are not even allowed to pray on Temple Mount."