Group of female Bnei Akiva youth movement members banned from calling out historic slogan during demonstration for fear it would incite Arab public to violence
by Kobi Nahshoni
Jerusalem police banned a group of female Bnei Akiva youth movement members to call out "The Temple Mount is in our hands!" or hold up signs with the slogan during a demonstration they intended to hold next week in Jerusalem.
Police claim the statements constitute incitement against the Arab public and could lead to violence. The sentence "The Temple Mount is in our hands!" was famously called out by Lieutenant General Mordechai 'Motta' Gur when the Old City was conquered during the Six Day War.
The demonstration was organized by members of the organization's Lehava group in Rishon LeZion after they saw pictures of construction work on the Temple Mount showing scaffolding on the Foundation Stone.
The group was originally planning to hold a procession but police refused to allow it, only authorizing a demonstration.
One of the organizers told Ynet that when she and her friends approached the police for a license for the event, they were presented with a condition: "They asked that we not use sentences like 'The Temple Mount is in our hands' and said that they were 'inciting'… Basically, the police warned us not to say anything that refers to the ownership of the Temple Mount as it provokes the Arabs.
"I just don't understand what is so inflammatory about it, but that's what they said. We agreed – just so we wouldn't cause a mess. We aren't looking to create problems we want to hold a civilized protest."
Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (National Union) published the police's condition on his Facebook page and added that it was his intention to get the decision revoked: "I asked the Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch whether he believed 'The Temple mount is in our hands' was to be considered 'incitement' and whether for that very same reason he was considering the option of having Motta Gur's book, carrying the same title, banned."
Incitement or not incitement?
Temple Mount Heritage Foundation's Yehuda Glick said: "This strange police ban on holding up signs stating 'The Temple Mount is in our hands' in a Jewish neighborhood, two kilometers away from the Temple Mount makes it very clear just how important this protest is.
"We need to show just how far our fear of our own shadow has taken us; we must make sure that the Temple Mount remains in our hands before it's too late.
The Lehava group said they took the initiative with the protest march after they approached a long line of politicians and were ignored. "When we realized that the situation was not going to change, we decided to go out and demonstrate, the organizers explained.
"At the moment the majority of publicity is coming from Facebook and word of mouth and dozens have said they would attend, we're hoping even more make it."
Jerusalem police said in response that they approved a protest at the High Commissioner's Residence Promenade (Armon Ha'Natziv) – but refused a request to hold a protest march. Moreover, it was illegal to make speeches of an inciting nature or hold inciting banners and placards.
A source within the police department added that the sign 'The Temple Mount is in our hands was considered to be inciting.
Noam 'Dabul' Dvir contributed to the report