Monday, April 10, 2017

Police in Jerusalem arrest activists planning a sacrifice on the Temple Mount

It's only a matter of time before the Temple is rebuilt and sacrifices are resumed. As reported by Jacob Magid of The Times of Israel, April 9, 2017 (links in original):

Priests recite biblical priestly blessing following the demonstration Passover sacrifice, Jerusalem, April 6, 2017 (Alexander Fulbright/Times of Israel)

Police on Sunday arrested several Jewish activists, including five minors, who they said were suspected of intending to carry out a Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount.

After security forces allowed a rehearsal sheep slaughtering to take place in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City on Thursday, it was widely believed that they would not let a “real” ceremony move forward at the contested Jerusalem site ahead the Passover festival Monday night.

In addition to arresting the activists, police raided the home of the parents of the head of a far-right group called Returning to the Mount, Raphael Morris.

A lawyer for some of the activists, Itamar Ben Gvir, decried the “silencing arrests” and called on police to allow “freedom of worship.”

A sheep that was slaughtered as part of a demonstration about the Passover sacrifice in Jerusalem's Old City on April 6, 2017. (Alexander Fulbright/Times of Israel)

He told Army Radio that “the police were acting disproportionately”
and that “Israel is losing its democratic character.”

Ben Gvir has a history of representing far-right clientele, including many perpetrators of attacks against Palestinian people and property.

“It is shameful that the State of Israel acts with an iron fist against people who simply want to renew one of the Torah’s most important commandments,” Morris said in a statement.

Approximately 200 people, including Likud MK Yehudah Glick, were in attendance for the rehearsal butchering that took place next to the Hurva Synagogue in the Old City on Thursday evening.

After the sheep was slaughtered in a lavish ceremony that included the blasting of silver trumpets by priests in white garments, the animal’s blood was sprinkled on a model altar. It was then flayed, roasted and eaten by the participants.

It was allegedly the first time in some 2,000 years that such a reenactment had taken place within the Old City walls.

For over a decade the group has held a reenactment of the Passover offering outside the Old City.

Activists annually request permission to fulfill the ritual on or near the Temple Mount, where such sacrifices were carried out at the time such sanctuaries stood. But each year they are refused by both police and courts, which say it could cause unrest if it is held at one of the most contested sites in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The flashpoint Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, revered by Jews as the site where the biblical Temples stood.

Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary and believe it is the spot where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. It is the third holiest site in Islam and houses the Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine.

Israel captured the Mount in the 1967 war, but allowed the Waqf Muslim trust to continue to administer it.

The Palestinians have frequently charged that Israel is trying to change longstanding understandings, in place since 1967, under which Jews are allowed to visit, but not pray at, the site. Israel denies any such intention.
Here's the article mentioned in the link above, as reported by The Times of Israel, April 6, 2017:

With priests blowing silver trumpets, a group of religious Jews slaughtered a sheep on Thursday in Jerusalem’s Old City to demonstrate the traditional paschal sacrifice, the first time such a reenactment has been held inside the city walls in 2,000 years.

The event was organized by Temple Mount activists and supervised by police and the state veterinarian service. Approximately 200 men, women and children attended the event, including MK Yehuda Glick.

The sheep was butchered in the main square of the Jewish Quarter, next to the Hurva Synagogue.

In accordance with the ancient rites, the blood was sprinkled on a model altar temporarily erected for the purpose. The sheep was then flayed, roasted and eaten by the participants.

Cohens, members of the priestly class, wearing specially made white garments, blew silver trumpets and sang psalms as the ritual was taking place. They also recited the biblical priestly blessing.

The group said it will conduct an actual sacrifice on Monday, the day before the Passover holiday, in order to fulfill a religious commandment requiring Jews to make an animal sacrifice for the festival.

However, it is unlikely that police will allow them to do so.

For over a decade the group has held a reenactment of the ritual slaughter of the Passover offering, a sheep or goat sacrifice, outside the Old City.

Each year the activists request permission to do it on or near the Temple Mount, where ritual sacrifices were carried out at the time of the temple. And each year they have been refused by police and the courts, which say it could cause unrest if it is held on or near the Temple Mount, the most hotly contested site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
These activists wren't the only ones arrested; as reported by Mr. Winer in The Times of Israel, April 10, 2017:

Police said Monday they had detained for questioning a Jewish man who was apprehended in the Old City of Jerusalem as he prepared to sacrifice a kid goat for the Passover holiday.

The man was stopped as he carried the goat along a street. He was intercepted by police and the goat was transferred to the Agriculture Ministry’s veterinary service.

Police stressed that they will continue to act against anyone who tries to disturb the peace and public safety over the holiday, which begins Monday night and lasts for seven days.

On Sunday, police arrested several Jewish activists, including five minors, who they said were suspected of intending to carry out a separate Passover sacrifice on the Temple Mount.

Last week, security forces allowed a rehearsal sheep sacrifice to take place in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

Approximately 200 people, including Likud MK Yehudah Glick, were in attendance for the practice slaughtering that took place next to the Hurva Synagogue in the Old City on Thursday evening.

Activists annually request permission to fulfill the ritual, commanded in the Bible, on or near the Temple Mount, where such sacrifices were carried out in ancient times, when the sanctuaries stood at the site. Police and courts have refused to okay the practice on the grounds that it could cause unrest if it is held at one of the most contested sites in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The flashpoint Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest in Islam after Mecca and Medina.
In 2016, seven Jewish men were arrested in a plot to sacrifice goats on the Temple Mount for Passover; as reported by Judah Ari Gross of The Times of Israel, April 22, 2016 (link in original):

Police detained seven Jewish men suspected of planning to sacrifice goats in the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday in honor of the Passover holiday, which begins at sundown.

Two of the young men were picked up on Friday morning on their way to carry out the sacrifice, but were stopped by police before they could do so. Upon their arrest, police spotted a second goat that had been left unattended, which they later connected to a third suspect who was subsequently detained.

Just a few hours later, officers picked up another four people — all minors — who had a third goat they intended to sacrifice, police said.

The charge against the seven suspects was “disturbing the peace,” a police spokesperson said.

In ancient times, Jews used to sacrifice a lamb on Passover Eve and eat it as part of the traditional seder meal. Nearly all Jews forego this ritual today. However, members of the Samaritan religion still carry out this practice.

The three goats confiscated by police on Friday were unharmed and have been handed over to the municipality’s animal control department, the police said.

Authorities had banned several right-wing activists from entering Jerusalem during the Passover holiday, which begins Friday evening, citing information they intended to carry out sacrificial rituals on the Temple Mount.

“The police are working and will continue to work with determination against any attempt to disturb the public peace and security, without favoritism,” the Jerusalem police said.

“We expect the public discourse during the holiday period to display tolerance and mutual respect,” the spokesperson added.

Two members of a group called “Return to the Temple Mount,” which advocates the construction of a Third Temple, have been barred from the city for the duration of the holiday. Members of the group had reportedly planned to carry out a ritual slaughter of a sacrificial animal at the site, as was customary on Passover in ancient times.

Jewish visits to the Temple Mount are allowed by agreement between Israel and the Jordanian custodians of the site, but worship at the site is forbidden.

The Temple Mount has been at the center of months-long tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, who fear a growing Jewish presence at the site that is also home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel is concerned that Jewish visits during the week-long Passover holiday to the Mount could trigger further Palestinian unrest.

Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich on Sunday announced a renewed open-ended ban on Israeli lawmakers visiting the flashpoint location.

The directive was issued in a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which Alsheich wrote: “In light of attempts by many extremist elements from both sides to create provocations… I surmise that at this time, ascent to the Temple Mount by Knesset members is likely to result in an exacerbation of tensions and an escalation of incidents that would cause a real endangerment of the security of the state.”

Netanyahu warned last week that “extremist elements” were attempting to sow unrest in Jerusalem and other areas in efforts to renew violence between Israelis and Palestinians ahead of the Passover holiday.

The prime minister said security forces would increase their readiness to counter those attempts amid a wave of Palestinian attacks that began more than six months ago and has lately been ebbing.

Israel also closed off the West Bank at midnight on Thursday night, amid fears of attacks by the Hamas terror group during the holiday. The Islamist terror organization was behind Monday’s suicide bombing on a Jerusalem bus that wounded 20 people. The closure is to last until Saturday night.

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