A Win for Jewish Pilgrims: Govt Compensates Temple Mount Activists 75K NIS Following Unlawful Arrests

The Presence of Hashem entered the Temple by the gate that faced eastward. Ezekiel 43:4 (The Israel Bible™)

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court handed down a decision ordering the Israeli police to compensate three teenagers, two of them minors, NIS 20,000 ($5,700) each on Tuesday reports Ynet. The judgement was made after the Temple Mount activists were illegally detained for 15 hours after being arrested when they tried to hang a sign protesting the closure of the Temple Mount to Jews on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Back in 2017, the three young men tried to hang a sign on Holocaust Memorial day when the Temple Mount was closed to Jewish pilgrims due to the fact that it was a Muslim holiday. The sign read: “The Temple Mount is closed to Jews (the same way many places that were closed to Jews for being Jewish during World War II) due to a Muslim holiday. How much longer Jews?”

the sign in question (credit: unknown)

At that point, a police officer “attacked” them and tried to “violently arrest them.” The officer threatened Azariah Baruch, the activist who filmed the incident on his cellphone, that if didn’t stop filming, he would also be arrested along with his two associates. The three were arrested, handcuffed taken to the police station. There, they were questioned while they were handcuffed. Additionally, an illegal strip search was conducted on their bodies.

“The verdict given is more than just a decision. The fact is that the court ruled, among other things, that the arrest was illegal and everything we did falls under the category of freedom of expression,” said Azaria Baruch, one of the detainees. This is a rather high sum of compensation. Together with court costs of NIS 15,000, the government will spend NIS 75,000 on the entire compensation package.

“The police decision to close the Temple Mount to Jews that day was reasonable and correct. This is not discussed in this case file and is irrelevant,” Judge Ilan Sela stated in her ruling. “The plaintiffs’ right to protest against this decision, which lies at the heart of freedom of speech, and the argument that it could have sparked outrage does not justify the arrest.”

Azariah Baruch shows his restraining order from the Temple Mount in 2017 (credit: Facebook)

After being prevented by the police from approaching the Old City for 48 hours, they were detained. And although they had the option of being released from detention in the middle of the night, since there was no public transportation, they asked to remain in custody and appear before a judge. They were only allowed home after 15 hours.

Attorney Yossi Nadav, who represented the plaintiffs, said after the verdict: “The compensation that was given to my client, as well as the court’s harsh criticism, speaks for itself and strengthen public confidence in the court system. However, what should concern us all as citizens is the police conduct who tried to present my client as dangerous criminals and outlaws.”

“I have no doubt that if we did not have documentation revealing the truth, my clients would have found themselves accused of criminal conduct. Worse, the police acted in a severe violation of the law and proper police procedures. They even said in court that they had no intention of changing them. I call upon all relevant parties to review the verdict and learn lessons from it. ”