Fearing Violent Pushback, Police Ban Annual Passover Sacrifice by Temple Mount Activists

The activists, who have been conducting the ritual for 15 years, say they will appeal to the High Court.

FILE PHOTO: Temple Mount hold Passover sacrifice in Jerusalem
Tali Mayer

Temple Mount activists will not be permitted to hold their annual Passover sacrifice at an archaeological park near the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, the police said Thursday.

The activists, who campaign for the rebuilding of the ancient Temple on the Temple Mount, plan to petition the High Court of Justice against the decision.

According to a letter sent Thursday by the Jerusalem District’s attorney general, Michael Frankenburg, "an evaluation of the situation by the relevant parties" did not allow the event to be held at the park, known as the Davidson Center.

Sources say the holding of the sacrifice so near the Temple Mount would infuriate Islamic groups; the Muslim religious trust that administers the site, the Waqf, views the entire area as part of the Mount, which Muslims know as the Noble Sanctuary.

Also, archaeologists have said the holding of events at the park violated the site's character.

The police had previously said they might let the event proceed under certain conditions; for example, if the slaughter and lighting of the sacrifice took place elsewhere before being brought to the park.

The ceremony, conducted annually for the past 15 years, began as a semi-underground event in which an animal was sacrificed a few days before Passover. The reenactment, however, is now the most important event of the year for Temple Mount activists.

In recent years the municipality has supported the event, and an inspector from the veterinary service has been on hand to supervise. Hundreds of people, including Knesset members, rabbis and other public figures have attended.