(World Israel News) An Israeli court recognized for the first time on Wednesday, October 6, that Jews have a right to pray at the holiest site in Judaism, albeit silently.
Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Bilha Yahalom ruled that Rabbi Aryeh Lippo, a man banned from the Temple Mount by local police because he prayed there, has a right to return to the compound.
“His daily arrival at the Temple Mount indicates that this is a matter of principle and substance for him,” she wrote.
After watching a video of Lippo and others praying silently at the site, Yahalom wrote that the act was not disruptive and there were no grounds for police to interfere with his quiet worship.
“The [police] do not dispute that the appellant, like many others, prays on a daily basis on the Temple Mount and this activity in itself does not violate police instructions,” she added.
The issue of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount has long been contentious. Because of its proximity to the Al Aqsa Mosque and the fact that the compound is legally under the Islamic guardianship of Jordan’s Wakq, Muslims have long objected to the presence of Jews at the site.
Previously, Israeli government policy regarded audible or silent prayer on the Temple Mount as a provocation.
Police officers were authorized to physically remove Jews suspected of praying from the area, for fear of conflict with Muslims at the site.