The High Court cut jail time for Northern Islamic Movement head Sheikh Raed Salah by two months. Instead of going to jail for eleven months, Salah will be incarcerated for nine months.
The court said that Salah “deserved” a cut in his punishment because he has not gotten into trouble for the past nine years since he was convicted for incitement against Israelis. Salah was convicted for making a speech at a mosque on Har HaBayis advocating violence against Jews.
Although the court said that Salah has not violated incitement laws in recent years, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu disagrees. As Pesach approaches, Israeli security officials have expressed concern that radical Muslim groups will use the increased numbers of Jews visiting the Old City, and especially the Kosel and the areas near Har HaBayis, to fan the flames of incitement. In past years, Arabs have lobbed rocks and stones on Jews who gathered at the Kosel in response to supposed “provocations” by Jews, and on Monday, Israel Radio quoted security sources as saying that figures like Salah were planning to increase the level of tension in the Old City. Netanyahu said that Salah, who in the past has been convicted and jailed for starting riots, should return to prison.
“We are aware of attempts by Salah to fuel the tensions on Har HaBayis ahead of Pesach,” Netanyahu said. “He is a one-man powder keg. I request that security officials and the Justice Minister take action to keep him away [from Yerushalayim]. He should be in jail already.”