web analytics
July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Tense International Focus On Western Wall Ramp


Keeping-Jerusalem

In Jerusalem, even when it’s relatively quiet on most of the city’s fronts, the tensions always zero in on one place: The holiest spot in the world, the site of the Beit HaMikdash – the Temple Mount. Current events show once again that it is here that the battle to keep Jerusalem Jewish will be decided.

Even a seemingly simple issue such as the need to repair or replace an entrance ramp to the Temple Mount – used only by non-Muslims, incidentally – is enough to bring about a major international crisis.

The entrance in question, known as the Mughrabi Gate, is the only one permitted for Jewish use. Anyone who visits the Western Wall can’t miss it, as it’s right there, just above and to the right of the women’s section. Israel’s closure last week of the ramp – because it is shaky, weak, a fire hazard and all-around dangerous – has brought on an onslaught of protests and anti-Israel threats by Arab countries.

It will be recalled that immediately after the 1967 Six-Day War, the Arab houses that reached almost up to the Kotel were razed, in order to create the broad Western Wall plaza in use today. The estimated 8 million worshipers and visitors who frequent the Kotel every year (including repeat visits) enjoy the open area either for praying, or for taking in the full grandeur of the Wall; many still do not realize that it is only a small part of the complete structure that enclosed the entire Beit HaMikdash in days of yore.

However, one large hill of dirt remained standing adjacent to the Wall after ’67. It served for years as a giant ramp by which tourists would enter the holy site – and religious Jews who wished to do the same (after immersing in a mivkeh and taking the other required halachic measures).

In February 2004, after heavy rains and snow, the hill partially collapsed. The Jerusalem Municipality announced that it would remove the hill almost completely – though only after conducting an archaeological dig at the site, as required by law – and then replace the entryway with a new wooden bridge.

After months of work – and Arab protests and threats – the dig was finally completed and the wooden bridge was erected. It was meant to be temporary – but no specific plans were made for its replacement. Then it happened: Two months ago, Jerusalem City Engineer Shlomo Eshkol officially informed Rabbi Shlomo Rabinovitch, the chief rabbi of the Holy Places, and Soli Eliav, the director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, that the structure is officially “condemned” and must be replaced within 30 days.

The matter was not one for those two to decide, of course; anything having to do with the Temple Mount and the Western Wall has international repercussions and must be decided on top governmental levels. Prime Minister Netanyahu originally agreed to replace the bridge, but then reneged because of pressure from Egypt, Jordan and other Arab states. The city engineer’s “condemnation,” therefore, trumped Netanyahu’s “no decision” – and the bridge is now closed. Ignoring for a moment the Arab anger at this decision – tourists now have no way to enter the Temple Mount – the question is, where does this leave the many religious Jews longing for the Beit HaMikdash who wish to visit the site in purity?

The answer is: They are furious. They originally supported the decision to replace the dangerous bridge that they use to ascend to and descend from the Mount, but they also expected that an alternative approach would be offered them, as in the past, while works were underway. This has not been the case – and they are now concerned that it could be a year or more before they are again afforded the chance to frequent the holy site.

“We call upon the Government of Israel,” the Temple Mount Foundation said in a statement, “to activate its sovereignty over its capital, and to use this opportunity as well to reconsider the absurd regulations by which 12 Temple Mount gates are open to Muslims 24/7, and only one gate is open to Jews, and that for 3 hours a day, 5 days a week…. [The government must provide] freedom of worship to Jews at their only holy site.”

Meanwhile, the Islamic Movement in Jordan condemned Israel’s closure of the bridge: “There is no way to deal with the ‘occupation’ other than by an international struggle” – often used by Arabs as a euphemism for “war.”

Jordan’s foreign minister said that his country “rejects every Israeli attempt to influence the holy sites in Jerusalem and the city’s legacy and character.”

Most telling, however, is the way in which Israeli media report the Arab reactions. The Nana10 news site, for instance, wrote: “Many Muslim leaders fear that Israel is acting unilaterally regarding the bridge, thereby shunting aside the Waqf, the Muslim organization that controls the holy sites on the Temple Mount. It should be noted that Jordan, too, has a say in the matter, since it is Islam’s custodian of Jerusalem’s holy sites.”

What a wake-up call! With Israel and most of world Jewry waging an unyielding war against the internationalization of Jerusalem, some of Israel’s media have already conceded the issue, granting the Muslims “say” and “control” in the face of what they say are Israel’s “unilateral” actions regarding the holy sites.

If you agree it’s time to wake up, go to www.keepjerusalem.org to sign the Jerusalem Covenant to reaffirm your commitment to a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty, and to sign up for our bus tours to critical parts of Jerusalem.

Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel ‘s minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel is past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, and continues to write and edit. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.

About the Author: Chaim Silberstein is president of Keep Jerusalem-Im Eshkachech and the Jerusalem Capital Development Fund. He was formerly a senior adviser to Israel's minister of tourism. Hillel Fendel, past senior editor at Israel National News/Arutz-7, is a veteran writer on Jerusalem affairs. Both have lived in Jerusalem and now reside in Beit El.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Tense International Focus On Western Wall Ramp”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Rocket that hit a field in the Eshkol region on July 3, 2015
ISIS-Linked Sinai Terrorists Attempt to Drag Israel Into War With Rocket Fire
Latest Indepth Stories
Jelgava Synagogue, Latvia

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

United Nations Building, New York City

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Zuckerman-070315

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

wedding cake

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach

The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.

Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel

In addition to the palace’s tremendous size it was home to the “hanging gardens,” which were counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world.

More Articles from Hillel Fendel and Chaim Silberstein / KeepJerusalem.org
Keeping-Jerusalem

Considering the news, it’s not for nothing the Midrash calls Jerusalem the world’s umbilical center

Keeping-Jerusalem

For a peace treaty with the PA, half the Israeli public would agree to divide the Jerusalem

48 years ago this week the IDF with heroism & Divine providence liberated our holy capital Jerusalem

“We returned to this Land not in order to be murdered, or uprooted. We came here to be replanted!”

Negotiations with the PA raises fears that some of Jerusalem will be handed over to foreign control

All Zionist parties must demonstrate that a united Jewish Yerushalayim is an absolute imperative

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Despite its name, the Muslim Quarter was home to many Jews and 6 yeshivot in the 19th century

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/keeping-jerusalem/tense-international-focus-on-western-wall-ramp/2011/12/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: