A ruling by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in favor of a Jewish man who prayed quietly at the Temple Mount has angered Muslim authorities, who denounced it on Thursday as a violation of the fragile status quo governing the flashpoint compound.
The ruling by the magistrate’s court concerned a Jewish man, Aryeh Lippo, who had been barred from the site for 15 days after Israel Police caught him quietly praying there…
Judge Bilhah Yahalom’s legal ruling was narrowly focused on overturning Lippo’s ban from the plaza.
But commenting on his conduct, she wrote: “The appellant stood in the corner with a friend or two, there was no crowd around him, his prayer was quiet, whispered.”
“I have not found that the religious acts carried out by the appellant were externalized and visible,” she ruled, determining that such prayer did “not violate police instructions,” and cancelling his ban from the site.
Israeli police appealed the ruling, arguing that Lippo engaged in “improper conduct in the public sphere.”
Magistrate courts make up the lowest level of the Israeli judiciary and hear cases concerning relatively minor crimes.
The Islamic Waqf that overseas Al-Aqsa called the court’s ruling a “flagrant violation” of the compound’s sanctity and a “clear provocation” for Muslims worldwide.
“This decision also has no legitimacy because we do not recognize Israeli law on al-Aqsa,” mosque director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani told AFP.
Egypt denounced the decision as a “violation” and said it held “deep concern about the consequences.”
Abdullah Kanaan of Jordan’s Royal Committee for Jerusalem Affairs rejected the ruling as an attack on the mosque and pledged to “firmly” counter Israeli rulings against the Palestinian people and Jerusalem sanctities, according to the state-run Petra news agency.
The Saudi Arabia-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation strongly condemned “the decision of the so-called Israeli ‘Jerusalem Court.’”
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