Waqf official Samer Abu Qweider was later arrested by police for punching one of the Jewish pilgrims in the face.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
A group of French-speaking Jews were harassed and intimidated Tuesday by both Israeli police and Muslim officials for singing Israel’s national anthem on the Temple Mount, said the Beyadenu NGO, which fights for Jewish sovereigny over the site.
Participating in a tour organized by the Israel is Forever Foundation, the group sang Hatikvah (The Hope) and within minutes, a Waqf official and Arab-Israeli policeman physically assaulted them in order to force them to stop, they said.
The Waqf official, Samer Abu Qweider, was later arrested by police for punching one of the Jewish pilgrims in the face.
The group said they were detained without explanation for an extended period of time at the site’s exit by the Israeli police.
Eventually, the group contacted Beyadenu, which sent legal assistance.
Lawyers from Beyadenu, which works with the support of The Lawfare Project, a civil rights organization that “defends the civil and human rights of the Jewish people,” convinced police to allow the group to leave.
However, a police officer reportedly told one of the visitors that he would be required to attend a court hearing regarding the incident.
The police did not provide documentation as to when the hearing would take place, nor did they explain what charges the man would potentially face.
The group plans to file a complaint to the police’s internal ethics department about the behavior of the Arab-Israeli policeman, whom they said had unnecessarily pushed and shoved members of the group.
“[Singing] HaTikvah, the song of hope, on the Temple Mount, is a natural thing,” said Tom Nissani, CEO of Beyadenu.
“There is no reasonable scenario that should result in violence from police and Arabs. This is a serious case. Our legal team will accompany and handle the case accordingly.”
Activists for Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount have long complained that Muslim visitors are permitted to act in any way they wish in the compound, yet Jewish visitors are forbidden from praying, touching the ground, and other acts that could be considered “provocative.”
Critics say that the focus on controlling Jewish visitors at the holiest site in Judaism weakens Israel’s sovereignty over the Temple Mount and effectively justifies Muslim rioting and intimidation tactics. It places the onus on Jews not to provoke rather than prioritizing punishment for violent behavior.