Freedom Of Prayer In Tel Aviv

Demand from Ron Huldai: Allow freedom of prayer in Tel Aviv

After the Tel Aviv municipality restricted mass prayers in the city during the Tishrei holidays, Deputy Mayor Haim Goren requested the mayor to remove the new restrictions

Prayers (Photo: Avshalom Sassoni, flash90.)

Following the restrictions imposed by the Municipality of Tel Aviv on the mass prayers at the entrance and exit of Yom Kippur and in light of the apparent infringement on the freedom of worship during the Tishrei holidays, Deputy Mayor Haim Goren addressed a pointed letter to Mayor Ron Huldai. In his letter, Goren asks to allow the existence of holiday prayers in a public space, and without any restrictions on worshipers, just as it was in previous years. In addition, Goren asks to prepare in advance and instruct the enforcement and security forces in the city to protect the rights of the religious residents and allow them to pray in the synagogues on Saturdays and holidays without any interference from protesters.

In his letter, Goren states that "these prayers attract a large crowd of men and women, religious and secular, young and old, and bring to light both the city's Jewish identity and its liberality. Unfortunately, anti-religious elements that work automatically against any sign of Jewish identity, may harm these beautiful prayers and begin to incite against the communities that organize them. Unfortunately, the municipality, led by you, accepted the claims of the above-mentioned parties, and decided on various restrictions on these prayers - during prayer times, by placing partitions and more - while severely harming the freedom of worship and religion."

Ron Huldai (Photo: Miriam Alster, Flash90.)

"And I wonder if the religious public does not have the right to pray according to their custom and tradition," Goren concluded, "I will remind you that even in past years a single partition was placed, to allow those keeping traditions who are careful to pray separately to observe their custom. Who was bothered by this, after all, this is not a blocking of the public space, And most of the square is open for everyone to pass through and pray. I also don't understand the time limit at all. And what will happen if the prayer ends a few minutes later, all the cafes and businesses around are closed anyway, so what's the point of this time limit."

A demand to provide protection for worshipers from the protesters

Goren later asks Huldai to protect the worshipers from the protesters: "In addition to this matter, last night we became aware of another serious case, in which there were disturbances and disruptions to Shabbat prayers at the Mishkan Kohanim synagogue after Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf, who lives nearby, arrived at the synagogue. The protesters promised after the prayer that until the synagogue worshipers will not 'remove' Minister Wasserlauf from the synagogue, they will continue to demonstrate outside the synagogue and disrupt the course of prayers in the future as well - including on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur."

Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf (Photo by Yonatan Zindel, Flash90.)

"Since, as mentioned, this is a disturbance to people who observe Shabbat and holidays, they are unable to contact the enforcement and security agencies during Shabbat to provide them with protection and allow them to perform prayers, and therefore there is a fear that violations of the order will continue unhindered and that synagogue worshipers will not be able to pray on the upcoming holidays. I would ask you to act Without delay, intervene in the matter of holiday prayers, and allow their existence in a public space without any restrictions on worshipers, just as it was in previous years, in addition to preparing in advance, instructing the enforcement and security forces in the city to protect the rights of the religious residents, and allow them to pray in the synagogues on Saturdays and holidays without any interference from protesters."

We note that as for the prayers of the Muslim public in the city, there is no restriction on those praying in the public space. About two months ago, the holiday of sacrifice prayer was held in the Midron Yaffo Park, which is located near the beach in Tel Aviv. The person who led the prayer is the convicted terrorist Sheikh Raed Salah. It can also be seen in the videos that the prayer was conducted in a gender-segregated manner despite the ban imposed by the municipality on Jews to conduct a gender-segregated prayer in the last Independence Day prayer.

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