The Waqf has paid NIS 10,000 to an Israeli who was attacked by one of its workers on Har HaBayis. The judgment was at the order of the Yerushalayim civil court, which ruled in favor of the plaintiff in a lawsuit he brought against the Waqf. A check for the amount was submitted Thursday by the Waqf to the plaintiff’s attorney, Chaim Bleicher of the Honenu legal rights organization.
The incident occurred about two years ago, when the plaintiff, who was on a tour of Har HaBayis, bowed down. At that moment, a Waqf operative who had been shadowing the group kicked the plaintiff in the stomach, with a video recording of the incident made by another member of the group. Gedolei Yisrael have stated that Jews should not enter the Har HaBayis compound, and, l’havdil, Israeli law forbids those who do so from praying, lest the Muslims be offended.
The plaintiff claimed that he was not praying, but just bending down – and that in any event, if the Waqf operative felt that there was any violation of protocol, he should have called an Israeli police officer stationed at the site. The court agreed, and fined the operative and his employer, saying that the action “harmed and humiliated the plaintiff, and attempted to impose dread on visitors to the site.”
Bleicher said that the decision once again highlights the fact that “Waqf operatives have no authority on Har HaBayis regarding Jews, and certainly no authority to attack them. If they have any complaints about those visiting the site, they need to notify a police officer. In recent weeks we have been witness to further struggles on the sovereignty of Israel on Har HaBayis. Our enemies, among them the Waqf, work ceaselessly to harm those visiting Har HaBayis. This worker went ‘beyond the call of duty’ by attacking Jews, claiming he was just ‘restoring order.’
“Unfortunately, organizations like ours have to step up and fill the gap left by the state and the police, who refused to file criminal charges against this Waqf worker,” said Bleicher. “As a result we filed a civil lawsuit, resulting in a judgment. It is time that the state acts within its rights to impose its authority on Har HaBayis.”