Jewish Activists Arrested Trying to Enter Temple Mount for Banned Passover Sacrifice

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Jerusalem's Temple Mount and Western Wall on May 5, 2015.
Jerusalem's Temple Mount and Western Wall on May 5, 2015.Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen

Jewish activists pushing for a third temple in Jerusalem attempted to ascend the Temple Mount carrying baby goats intended to be used as Passover sacrifices on Friday afternoon, as they do every year. Jerusalem police detained ten suspects in the Old City for interrogation, and seized four sacrificial goat kids.

Among those arrested were Kach activist Noam Federman, who attempts make the sacrifice every year, and Rafael Morris, an activist in the Temple Mount Faithful movement. The two were banned from entering Jerusalem before the holiday and will be questioned about breaching the ban.

“No ban will keep us from fulfilling this important religious injunction,” said Morris shortly before being arrested. “Regrettably, the Passover sacrifice is a rite that has been forgotten. If they want to arrest me they’ll need more than a ban.” The police also detained three minors who were in possession of a young goat.

According to the Temple Mount Faithful, dozens of other activists took part in the attempted sacrifice. For them, making such an offering on Passover is of the utmost importance.

Last Monday the group held their annual Passover sacrifice practice ceremony on Mount Scopus, with a view of the Temple Mount. Hundreds of people took part, including MK Miki Zohar (Likud).

Jerusalem police strengthened forces around the Temple Mount and the Old City out of concern for increased tensions during the holiday season. Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to visit the city. Many Jewish visitors are expected to visit the Temple Mount, which could lead to violent protests by Muslim residents. The priestly blessing ceremony will take place tomorrow at the Western Wall plaza, with tens of thousands of attendees expected. Tensions usually peak around the time of the event. “We are carefully balancing the needs of all three religions in order to enable freedom of prayer and worship, while ensuring everyone’s safety and wellbeing,” said the police in a statement. “We expect public conduct during this period to show tolerance and mutual respect.”

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