Israeli judge authorizes (silent) prayer for Jews at Al-Aqsa
The right to worshipp recognised following a complaint filed by Rabbi Aryeh Lippo. Jordan denounces "serious violation" of the status quo. Palestinian minister attacks: "unprecedented" decision that constitutes a "flagrant aggression". Pressure from the Israeli far right for occupation of the site is increasing.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) - With a decision in many respects historic (and controversial), yesterday an Israeli court ruled that the "silent prayer" of Jews in the complex of the al-Aqsa Mosque (which for Jews is the Temple Mount) in East Jerusalem is not "a criminal act". T
Israeli TV Channel 7, close to the Jewish nationalist right, reports that the judge Bilha Yahalom of the prosecutor's office of the holy city has ruled that silent prayer does not constitute a violation of the law and the dictates of the police, so it can not be considered a crime.
The ruling is related to a complaint submitted to the magistrates by Rabbi Aryeh Lippo, who challenged a ban imposed by the police on visits and prayer in the complex disputed by Jews and Muslims, considered the third most important place in Islam. The judge ruled that the rabbi can return to the site and perform his prayers regularly.
Jewish worshippers are allowed to access the al-Aqsa complex, which for them is the Temple Mount, but are not allowed to stop and pray. Jordan, custodian of the site through the Waqf group since 1948, strongly condemned the decision, stressing that only members of the Muslim foundation possess the legal authority to administer and decide disputes related to al-Aqsa.
"The decision is a serious violation of the historical and legal status of al-Aqsa Mosque," Jordan's foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement. Meanwhile, the Palestinian foreign ministry said the "unprecedented decision… constitutes a flagrant aggression against the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque".
The number of Jewish worshippers praying quietly in the area has increased in recent years, despite the long-standing agreement between Jordanian authorities (who oversee the compound) and the Israeli government that prohibits the practice. At the same time, pressure is mounting from far-right groups who are intimidating the Israeli government to take full control of al-Aqsa, considering it a holy site for the Jewish world only. They have repeatedly marched provocatively in the area, fueling tension and triggering violent protests by Muslims who are often prevented from entering by Israeli security forces.
During the last Jewish holiday of Passover, the compound experienced a number of incidents and violations of the status quo, including the reading of the Torah aloud on site. Incidents and clashes fueled tensions between the two sides, resulting in last May's bloody 11-day blitzkrieg in Gaza that cost hundreds of lives. In September, thousands of Israelis stormed the compound after the end of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The activists were joined by prominent members of the Israeli media, government ministers, members of the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) and senior Israeli officials.