The Yerushalayim Magistrate’s Court has announced that it has upheld the right of Jews to daven at the Har Habayis in a case involving activist Yehuda Glick, a promoter of Jewish access to the holy site despite the ruling of the gedolei haposkim that going on to the Har Habayis is assur l’halacha.
Although Israel gained eastern Jerusalem and its holy sites from Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War, the Temple Mount is being administered by the Islamic Waqf, a Muslim trust overseen by Jordan that limits non-Muslim visitation and bans Jewish prayer. Israel, however, provides security at the site.
In recent months, an increase in Jewish visitation has been led by activist groups calling for greater Jewish access to the Temple Mount.
While Israel’s Supreme Court has also upheld the Jewish right to prayer at the site in principle, the Jerusalem court’s new decision left security services with the authority to continue blocking non-Muslim prayer if they deem it to be a security concern.
Glick had brought a lawsuit against Israeli police for banning him from the site over videos showing him praying there. Last year, Glick was wounded in an assassination attempt by a Palestinian terrorist.
Judge Malka Aviv said, “There is nothing in the deeds of the plaintiff (Glick) that justified in any way the punishment that he received.” Glick was awarded NIS 500,000 (about $126,000) in damages and NIS 150,000 (about $25,000) in legal costs.
The police were ordered to “ensure that Jews are able to pray on the Temple Mount, and not to act sweepingly to prevent Jews from praying on the Temple Mount,” the ruling said.
Glick’s attorney, Aviad Visoly, said, “Essentially, the court took the ruling of the Supreme Court regarding the right of Jews to pray at the Temple Mount, and implemented it in practice,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
But doubts remain on whether this ruling would actually lead to Jewish prayer being allowed at the site in practice, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterating last year his commitment to maintaining the status-quo on the Temple Mount issue.