Judge reinstates ban on Jews praying on Temple Mount, Hamas celebrates Israeli ‘surrender’

Judge rules worshipper’s prayer was “overt as Public Security Minister warns changing holy site’s status quo would cause flare up of violence.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

A ruling allowing a Jew to silently pray on the Temple Mount for the first time was reversed by a Jerusalem District Court judge on Friday.

District Court Judge Aryeh Romanov agreed with an appeal by Public Security Minister Omer Barlev and the police, ruling that only Muslims are allowed to overtly pray on the Temple Mount.

“What is important… is the fact that there was someone who noticed the praying, which evidently shows that the prayer was overt. If it was not overt, no one would have noticed it,” Romanov wrote.

Hamas was ecstatic after the Jewish prayer ban was reinstated, calling it a “surrender to the threats made by Palestinians.”

In September, police banned Rabbi Aryeh Lippo from the Temple Mount for two weeks after he was seen praying on the holy site. But Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Bilha Yahalom ruled that Lippo had a right to return to the holy site. “His daily arrival at the Temple Mount indicates that this is a matter of principle and substance for him,” Yahalom wrote.

Romanov reinstated Lippo’s 15-day ban.

Following Yahalom’s ruling, the U.S. contacted Israel to clarify the government’s position on the issue. Hamas called that ruling “a declaration of war.”

Under the terms of a status quo reached between Israel and the Islamic Waqf, while Jews and Christians are allowed to visit the Temple Mount, only Muslims are allowed to pray there. The status quo, which has been in place since Israel captured the holy site during the Six-Day War of 1967, allows the Waqf to administer the Temple Mount while Israel is responsible for security.

Jordan’s special relationship with the Temple Mount was further enshrined in the Israel-Jordan peace treaty of 1994.

In a statement issued on Friday, Barlev explained that he appealed the Magistrates Court’s ruling, saying that “a change in the existing status quo will endanger public peace and could cause a flare-up.”