Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration) iStock

Visitors to the Temple Mount have complained in recent months about the phenomenon of Arab children playing soccer at the holy site.

Temple Mount activist Yair Kehati appealed to police officers who were in the compound to stop the phenomenon immediately, but they did not intervene.

Attorney Chaim Bleicher from the Honenu legal organization sent a letter on behalf of Kehati to Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevi, in which he described how Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount encountered the soccer games during what should have been spiritual visits to the holiest site in Judaism.

He noted that the children seemed to follow the route of the Jewish visitors and that they did not play in areas near to a school.

"This conduct of holding soccer matches in the holy areas of the Temple Mount causes the desecration of the place and greatly offends the feelings of the visitors as well as the feelings of all religious people," Bleicher wrote.

He noted that an individual who desecrates a holy place is in violation of the Protection of Holy Places Law, of 1967, and that the crime carries a sentence of seven years in prison.

He went on to quote the Supreme Court ruling that the police must enforce and ensure that phenomena such as picnics and soccer games to not extend past certain boundaries on the Temple Mount. n light of all this, I would therefore ask the police to make every effort to prevent the recurrence of these cases by prosecuting the people who desecrate the [holy] place or by banning ball games [at the holy site]."

Yair Kehati said, "While Jews are being discriminated against on the Mount and are prevented from praying, the Arabs do as they please and and mock the place with soccer games and picnics. [They do this] while the Israel police ignore their actions even in the face of the Supreme Court ruling on the subject. We will not be quiet until the police restore dignity to the holiest place in the world."