Temple Mount Activists Plan Passover Sacrifice Near Western Wall

The ceremony has been conducted annually for the past 15 years, but it began as a semi-underground event in which an animal was sacrificed a few days before Passover.

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

Activists for rebuilding the Temple on the Temple Mount will hold their annual event reenacting the Passover sacrifice at the Davidson Center, the archeological park next to the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem.

The police gave verbal approval for the ceremony, with some safety precautions, said sources.

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Organizers said that if the police do not issue a permit for the entire reenactment by this morning, they will petition the High Court of Justice for permission. Aviad Visoly, a lawyer for the activists, said that if the High Court does not overrule the police, the ceremony will be split into two parts, with the sacrifice conducted elsewhere and brought to the site.

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

The Jerusalem police said the event has not been approved and the issue is still under discussion.

The ceremony has been conducted annually for the past 15 years. It began as a semi-underground event in which an animal was sacrificed a few days before the Passover Seder. In recent years, the reenactment has become an institution and has become the most important event of the year for Temple Mount activists.

Last year, the reenactment was held in the Bet Orot neighborhood on the Mount of Olives, with a view of the Temple Mount. This year, organizers decided to hold the ceremony as close to the Temple Mount as possible, just south of the Western Wall Plaza.

The Jerusalem municipality has supported the event in recent years, and an inspector from the Veterinary Service has been on hand to supervise the slaughter of the sacrificial animal. Hundreds of people, including Knesset members, rabbis and other public figures have attended the ceremony in recent years.

The archeological park is run by the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, a government-owned corporation under the Construction and Housing Ministry. The company approved the request to hold the ceremony in the park, but required organizers to also receive permission from the police.

Government attempts to rebuild the bridge leading to the Mugrabi Gate to the Temple Mount above the area have met with fierce opposition from the Jordanian government, and in the end Israel retreated from the plan.

Holding the reenactment is expected to draw a furious response from Islamic groups, who say it is a provocation; the Islamic Waqf views the entire area as part of the Temple Mount. In addition, for years some archeologists have been complaining about holding events in the archeological park, which they say violates the character of the site.