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13 arrested for attempting to smuggle young goat onto the Temple Mount

Attempt to bring 'Passover sacrifice' is sponsored by group with a history of such actions

A goat found that activists were planning on sacrificing on the Temple Mount (Photo: Israel Police Spokesperson)

Israel Police on Monday detained 13 suspects who apparently intended to bring a young goat up to the Temple Mount as a "Passover sacrifice." 

The suspects, all youths, were found in possession of several goats, one of which was hidden in a shopping bag, while another was discovered in a baby stroller. 

The suspects were taken in for interrogation and the animals were transferred to a veterinarian. 

The youths who took part in the illegal activity were allegedly sponsored by the organization “Hozerim LaHar” (Return to the Mount), a group with a history of such activism. 

For several years, the Return to the Mount movement has allegedly offered monetary rewards for people who attempt to bring a ritually appropriate sacrifice to the Temple Mount during the pilgrim feasts of Passover, Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles. 

Monetary rewards are meant to cover the legal costs of being arrested, as well as to serve as an incentive to commit the act. 

“Return to the Mount” promised ILS 50,000 (over $13,000) to anyone who successfully completes “a proper sacrifice” on the Temple Mount. In addition, ILS 2,500 (about $660) was offered to individuals who managed to reach the Temple Mount with a lamb but were arrested before completing the sacrifice.

Those individuals arrested with a lamb or goat on the way to the Temple Mount were promised ILS 700 ($185), and those arrested for any activity related to bringing an animal to the site were promised a payment of ILS 200 ($53).

According to the group's leaflets, this year's campaign theme was called: "Sacrifices for the Return of the Abductees.” 

Israel Police announced that detectives from the Central Unit in the Jerusalem District had taken the 13 suspects for further questioning, after detaining them “on suspicion of intent to disturb the peace.” 

The police were on the lookout for such behavior due to past incidents and leaflets distributed among the religious community in recent days. Most of the suspects were detained before getting close to the Temple Mount. 

Police issued the following statement: “The Israel Police operates in Jerusalem and in other sectors with all security agencies, both overtly and covertly, against anyone who tries to disturb the order and act contrary to the law and the existing practice in the holy sites in the city of Jerusalem.” 

“We call on the public not to give a platform or expression to extremist fringes that try or call to violate law and order. The existing practice on the Temple Mount and the other holy sites in the city of Jerusalem has been and will continue to be maintained at all times, and we will not allow extremists and criminals of any kind to violate it.”

Last week, Hamas leaders called on Muslims to go to the Temple Mount and remain there until Passover evening, in order to “protect Al-Aqsa and prevent Jews from defiling it and making sacrifices there.” 

In January, Hamas claimed the Oct. 7 “Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” attack was launched because Jews were planning to sacrifice a red heifer and retake control of the Temple Mount. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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