update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Israeli NGO asks High Court to order prosecution of former Jerusalem mufti

The Lavi Organization said it petitioned the court after being stonewalled for months by Justice Minister Yariv Levin.

Muslims wave Hamas flags after Friday prayers during Ramadan, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, April 22, 2022. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
Muslims wave Hamas flags after Friday prayers during Ramadan, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, April 22, 2022. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.

An Israeli NGO has petitioned the Supreme Court in Jerusalem, sitting as the High Court of Justice, to demand the prosecution of former Palestinian Authority mufti Ekrima Sabri for incitement to terrorism.

The Lavi Organization, a nonprofit that works to bring about a Zionist worldview in Israel’s government, said it petitioned the court after, in its words, being stonewalled for months by Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s office.

Following the filing of the petition on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Yosef Elron ordered the government to file a preliminary response by mid-October, HaKol HaYehudi (The Jewish Voice) reported.

“It can’t be that an Israeli resident who blatantly encourages terrorism and murder is not immediately brought in for questioning,” said attorneys Eran Ben-Ari and Assaf Techelet of Ben-Ari, Marans, Techelet & Co, who represent the Lavi Organization at the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court’s [preliminary] decision today shows that it also takes these things seriously. We hope that this petition will put an end to this despicable and dangerous phenomenon,” they added.

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, who heads the Jerusalem Supreme Muslim Council and previously served as the P.A.-appointed mufti in Israel’s capital, has close ties with the Turkish government and regularly preaches in the Al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount.

In October, while visiting the family of Palestinian terrorist Udai Tamimi, who was killed in a shootout in October, Sabri called on Palestinian youth to join the “family of martyrs,” which he described as “sublime and divine, and to be aspired to.”

Tamimi shot and killed Sgt. Noa Lazar and was later killed when he opened fire on security guards in Ma’ale Adumim.

In May 2022, Religious Zionism Party head Bezalel Smotrich called for a criminal investigation of Sabri over his participation in a virtual conference hosted by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The meeting was also attended by the leaders of various terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah, Hamas’s Ismail Haniyeh, Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Ziyad al-Nakhala and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Talal Naji.

During the conference, participants emphasized their loyalty to the Iranian worldview and commitment to the “liberation of Jerusalem from the hands of the Zionists.”

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