Jan 2, 2013

Prosecuting Feiglin for Prostrating

Moshe Feiglin joins, or leads, a group going up to Har HaBayit every 19th of the Hebrew month.

As always, it remains prohibited by the police to pray openly or conduct openly any action that has religious significance. The police enforce this rule in the name of "keeping the peace", despite the Supreme Court upholding the right of Jewish people to pray there, under the principle of freedom of religion and freedom of worship. The catch is that they give the police on-scene leeway to take away such freedom, on a temporary basis, if they deem it necessary due to issues of safety. That temporary withholding of rights to pray has been in effect for many years.

The past couple of months Moshe Feiglin has decided that he is going to pray openly despite the police. I am not really sure what he is trying to do, but I suspect he is trying to force the issue and get the courts to stop the police from their heavy-handed attitude towards Jews rights on the Mount.

Yesterday, again, Moshe Feiglin went up to Har HaBayit, as per his normal schedule, and, again, ignored the  warnings of the police and prayed and prostrated himself openly. Feiglin was immediately removed from the Mount and detained. When he refused to sign the conditions for release, conditions that he would commit to not praying again in the future and the like, he was released scott-free, with no conditions at all.

Today the police announced that they are considering prosecuting Feiglin for disturbing the peace and for breaching the status quo on Har HaBayit.

Surprisingly, the irgunei hamikdash, the group of organizations that fight for Jewish rights on Temple Mount, have decided to support and encourage the police to prosecuting Moshe Feiglin. They are supporting prosecution not because Moshe Feiglin harms their efforts and they want too do away with him, but because they see this as an opportunity to finally get the courts to recognize that the police are discriminating against Jews, and to have the courts put an end to it. The courts have severely criticized the police each time someone was prosecuted, but until now they have not done anything to force a change. Prosecuting someone with such a high profile can put this agenda on the table and perhaps effect a change.
(source: Srugim)

The irony is that the right-wing base wants Feiglin prosecuted, and perhaps some good might come of it.

What concerns me is that this is playing with fire. While the courts have more or less been on the side of the prayers rather than that of the police, I can see another outcome happening in this instance - I can see them using this, perhaps with the quiet encouragement of some politicians, as an opportunity to remove Feiglin from politics. They can prosecute him and find him guilty of incitement to violence, slap the badge of kalon, moral turpitude, on Feiglin, and thereby disqualify him from running for Knesset.

While I like the idea behind the support to prosecute Feiglin, I hope it does not backfire. Perhaps somebody else would be a better guinea pig to try this on...

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  1. FWIW, it's a sign of leadership to push the bar higher. Taking Feiglin to court might allow him to get a high paid lawyer (I'm sure many a rich Jew would wait in line to fund that) to finally get the courts to allow prayer anywhere.

    Of course, then for 'balance', they would allow the women of the wall to dress up in talitot.

  2. How about dozens, hundreds, even thousands, follow brother Feiglin to pray? Is it against the law for a Jew in Jerusalem, The City of David's Throne, in Israel to Pray!?!? G-d Forbid! Exercise Holy obedience to G-d, not misguided civil laws against or limiting worship and freedom of Holy expression. These are the prerogative and gifts of G-d for having conversation with His People. G-d will honor and bless your desire to do the right thing! Now join the brothers & let the sisters come too in their order to lift up your hands to His Holy Place! And Bless The Lord!


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