Jew arrested for praying on Temple Mount

Monday, September 26, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

A 76-year-old Jewish man was arrested and questioned for the crime of reciting a brief blessing over a bottle of water while touring Jerusalem's Temple Mount on Sunday.

Israel National News reports that Yosef Hacohen was part of a group of religious Jews visiting the most holy site in Judaism when he began to feel ill. Being religious, he wanted to say a quiet blessing before drinking his water in hopes that both the prayer and the refreshment would help him feel better.

The Muslim watchmen who were trailing the group were having none of it, and immediately complained to nearby Israeli police officers that a Jew had dared to pray atop the Temple Mount, which is today occupied by two mosques.

The officers arrested the elderly Hacohen and another group member who had helped him recite the blessing and took them both in for questioning.

The group leader, Rabbi Menachem Shouraki, said other Muslim guards had been taunting the Jewish visitors prior to Hacohen's arrest. He noted that the Muslims seemed more agitated and hostile than usual, and attributed it to this week's Palestinian statehood bid at the UN. Shouraki believe's Hacohen's arrest was the result of the Israeli authorities trying to appease the Muslims in order to avoid an outbreak of violence.

Jerusalem's Temple Mount remains one of the only places on earth where a Jew is legally forbidden to pray, simply because he is a Jew (Christians are also forbidden to pray there). What makes that fact all the more despicable is that the Temple Mount is Judaism's holiest site.

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