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Harriet Sherwood Misleads on Religious Significance of the Kotel

Sherwood gets the significance of the Western Wall and Haram al-Sharif wrong
Harriet Sherwood

Harriet Sherwood’s June 25 report on the upcoming visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, devoted some text to outlining his itinerary while in the Holy Land, and included this passage:

During his three days in the Holy Land, he is scheduled to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection; the Western Wall, the most revered site in Judaism; and the Haram al-Sharif, the site of the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque and the third-holiest place in Islam. All three sites are inside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

However, Sherwood gets the significance of the Western Wall and Haram al-Sharif wrong – an error which she has made previously and which has been made (and at times corrected) by other media outlets as well.

Haram al-Sharif is known in Judaism as ‘The Temple Mount’ (Har Habayit), and is identified in Jewish (and Islamic) tradition as the area of Mount Moriah where Abraham offered his son in sacrifice.  It is where the Second Temple stood between roughly 515 BCE until 70 CE and – while it is true, per Sherwood, that it is the third holiest place in Islam – it is recognized as the holiest site in Judaism. While the Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews are permitted to regularly pray, it derives its holiness from its proximity to the Temple site.

Though we have credited Sherwood recently on her progress towards more fair and accurate coverage of the region, this report on the Archbishop’s upcoming visit to Jerusalem includes clearly misleading information about the significance of these Jewish and Muslim holy sites which is simply not open to interpretation.

(We recommend you consider reading a great CAMERA backgrounder on the issues surrounding the Temple Mount, here.)

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About the Author: Adam Levick serves as Managing Editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), and is a member of the Online Antisemitism Working Group for the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism. Adam made Aliyah from Philadelphia in 2009 and lives with his wife in Modi'in.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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One Response to “Harriet Sherwood Misleads on Religious Significance of the Kotel”

  1. Ken Kelso says:

    http://blog.camera.org/archives/2013/06/post_117.html
    Hopes for a two-state solution fade as Palestinian official says 'If we had nukes we'd use them on Israel tomorrow.
    Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem Monday June 17, 2013.

    The story reflected in the fake headline above is based on a very real report by Palestinian Media Watch, and coveredelsewhere in the media:

    A official, Jibril Rajoub…praised the use of violence against Israel. During an interview on a Lebanese TV channel [on May 2], the host referred to “the negotiations game” with Israel, and Rajoub expressed the view that negotiations are held because the Palestinians lack military strength: ”I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning.”.
    The Los Angeles Times, like the Guardian, completely ignored Rajoub's statement.

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