Sivan 7, 5774, 05/06/14
Police confounded by lawyer mother of nine-year-old they were trying to arrest, after he prostrated himself in prayer on Temple Mount.
by Ari Yashar
Police officers on Tuesday tried to arrest a nine-year-old boy for prostrating himself in prayer on the Temple Mount. They were stopped in their tracks by the boy's mother, who as luck would have it is an attorney.
Former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari organized the group of roughly 100 Jews visiting the holiest site in Judaism on Tuesday ahead of Shavuot, the Jewish holiday celebrating the giving of the Torah in which Jews traditionally ascended to the Holy Temple. After originally being informed he would be blocked from visiting the site, Ben-Ari reported on Facebook he had been allowed in.
Ben-Ari on Tuesday posted video of the altercation on Facebook, and lauded it as a case of "taking police to school on the Temple Mount." He noted that when confronted by the lawyer mother, the officers were sent switching "from threats to stuttering."
"One of the children prostrated himself, angering the Arab officer, who demanded that I 'hand over' the father. I told the officer that I haven't yet gotten my paycheck from (Internal Security Minister Yitzhak) Aharonovich. He decided by order of the captain to arrest the child, taking him to the police station," reports Ben-Ari.
"Suddenly the mother appeared and let the surprised officer know she is a lawyer, asking to clarify by what pretext he was kidnapping the nine-year-old child. The officer realized it wasn't worth it to mess with her," added the former MK.
Video of the confrontation in Hebrew can be seen here:
In the video, a police officer is seen leading off the child when the mother suddenly comes up and tells him she's a lawyer. At that point the officer calls in a superior to speak with the mother.
After the superior attempts to downplay the incident, the lawyer says that the first cop "stopped him (the boy), he said 'you're coming with me,' that's what he said."
When the officer says that as the boy's mother she is responsible for him, and that the group of visitors was given instructions from "Moti" about the rules of visiting the site before entering, the mother reports that she was at the side when she heard that a child was being arrested.
"He told me the child prostrated himself. That's not okay, he transgressed the rules that Moti told him. That's not okay according to your rules, but I wanted to know what they're arresting him for," the lawyer is seen arguing.
She adds "so that there won't be a problem I presented myself as a lawyer, because as a mother apparently I don't have any rights here on the 'rules.' But as a lawyer I have (rights) if he arrests him."
The officer at that point is seen backing down, saying "we're not arresting anyone."
After apparently being asked by the officer to accompany him to the station, the lawyer says "if you don't want arrests or accompaniment (to the station), then I can go. There's no legal reason why I have to accompany you."
The officer responds "I'll wait for you, we'll sit and talk a bit" after the visit, conceding to her point and turning to leave.
The end of the film shows a picture of the boy stretched on the ground of the Temple Mount in prayer, with the caption "this is what he did: he prostrated himself towards the location (where) our Holy Temple (stood)."
Roughly 400 Jews ascended the Temple Mount on Tuesday, in a surprising show of police accommodation other than the near arrest documented in the video.
Jordan, whose waqf (Islamic trust) rules the site in a de facto manner and has Israeli police arrest Jewish visitors for praying there, complained over the Tuesday visits.
Possibly as a result, Jews were again banned from visiting the site on Wednesday for Shavuot; Jews hoping to visit reported that dozens of Arab visitors were armed and apparently ready to riot, with police leaving them unhindered.