Jewish Youths Arrested for Praying on Temple Mount. But Was It Illegal?

Lawyer slams Israel Police for again overstepping their authority and enforcing a law that simply doesn’t exist

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It's not entirely uncommon for Jewish activists to ascend Jerusalem's Temple Mount, pray there and then be arrested for their troubles.

But it's also not legal. The arrests, that is.

Israel Police officers get around the fact that there's no law forbidding Jews from praying anywhere they please by claiming those doing so atop the Temple Mount are "disturbing public order" by potentially provoking a violent Muslim response.

For most people, the debate should end right there. "Public order" is supposed to include freedom of worship. Those responding to that freedom with outbursts of violence should be the ones held accountable for disturbing public order.

But we digress.

On Wednesday, three Israeli Jewish youths went up to the Temple Mount and recited the "Shema Israel" prayer taken from Deuteronomy 6:4.

They were immediately arrested and taken in for hours of questioning. The youths were later released, but ordered to attend an administrative hearing where they are expected to be forbidden from future visits to Judaism's holiest site.

The boys' lawyer, Nati Rom of the Honenu legal aid group, firmly decried this state of affairs in remarks to Israel National News:

"Unfortunately, Israel Police arrests young boys, when their only crime was that they expressed their faith and prayed in a holy place. This type of arrest must never happen, especially since there is no law forbidding Jews from praying on the Temple Mount."

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