Posts Tagged ‘Kotel’
On Tuesday morning, Arab rioters on the Temple Mount who presumably found no more Jews or police to attack up there, began throwing stones down at the Jews who were engaged in their morning prayer before the Western Wall. One woman, age 73, was injured lightly and was rushed to Hadassah Ein Karem hospital. (Update: The woman was released from the hospital late Tuesday afternoon).
Once again this week Israel has taught the Arab rioters on the Temple Mount that crime pays, and violent crime pays double. Following two days of violent riots on the sacred grounds, during which Arab youths threw stones and fireworks at security forces, police on Tuesday morning banned the entrance of Jewish and all other non-Muslim visitors, which is what the violent mob was demanding in the first place.
The announcement about the banning of Jews came before the Arabs started throwing rocks down on Jewish worshipers by the Kotel.
The Arabs argued that there had been a status quo according to which on the final ten days of the month of Ramadan no non-Muslim was allowed to set foot on the ground where a scene from dream of the prophet Mohammad took place back in the seventh century (he never actually set foot there).
For two days straight, Arab rioters barricaded themselves inside the Al Aqsa mosque, where they stored stones and fireworks, determined to interrupt the peaceful routine of Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. As soon as the first visitors had entered, Muslim youths, some of them masked, burst out of the mosque, screaming stuff about the supremacy of Allah (He is, apparently, very big) and throwing stones at the frightened visitors and at police. Police and Border Guard pushed back the attackers, and enabled the continued visits.
Israel Police issued a communiqué Monday saying that any attempt to violate the order anywhere in Jerusalem, including in the Old City and on the Temple Mount would be handled “resolutely and firmly,” in order to maintain the status quo allowing members of all religions to be on the Temple Mount. “Jerusalem Police will use all the tools at its disposal to arrest the rioters and to prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”
Nekhtike Tug, goes the Yiddish adage, meaning, roughly, go find the stuff you lost yesterday, or, basically, it wasn’t happening. Because overnight Monday, according to an Israel Radio report, there were talks between the Netanyahu government and the Jordanians, whose Waqf association is the de facto ruler of the sacred compound, and a decision was made to bow to the will of the thugs one more time.
Let it be a lesson to them.
You, dear readers, must forgive me for asking this question, but: Have we Jews gone mad? Kotel mad? Have we lost it? Are we Jews, who represent the best brains in the world, incapable of solving a minor – albeit pressing – problem in our long history of unprecedented upheavals and unparalleled challenges?
Yes, I know that no one will take my suggestion seriously, but since we seem to have not yet regained our sanity, I offer it nevertheless:
We must free the Kotel of all denominations and abolish all synagogue services at the site, including bar and bat mitzvah celebrations. We must remove all sifrei Torah,tefillin and tallitot and restore the Kotel to its former state: A place where all are welcome and where not even the most lenient halacha can be violated. Where there are no mechitzot (partitions) and other sources of ideological or physical conflict. A place used solely for individual prayer and meditation, just as our ancestors treated it throughout our long history.
The Kotel is not a synagogue. It never was a synagogue and should never become one. It is a place where we Jews can meet, pray and share what we have in common instead of focusing on what divides us. Where we can smile at each other and laugh about ourselves, even when we vehemently disagree.
The Kotel situation is extremely explosive, and the stakes are high. It seems that we are unable to maintain enough unity to preserve even one single place in the entire world where we can come together without any party lines.
We run the risk of allowing our disagreements to spiral out of control and harm all of Israel, far beyond what we could have imagined. And once that happens, no government will be able to put its foot down, not even if forced to bring security personnel to defend us against ourselves.
It is precisely because we all view the Kotel as a place of such infinite holiness, that these clashes can result in almost irreparable damage and impurity.
The greater its sanctity, the deeper it can fall into an abyss. It can easily turn into a place of such desecration of God’s name that once it does, all of us will hide our faces in shame and ask ourselves how this could ever have happened to us.
It won’t take long before the nations of the world will be utterly disgusted at the sight of a people that represents the Bible and its unprecedented moral and religious values; a 4,000-year-old nation that has outlived the Egyptians, the Romans, the Greeks and the Babylonians; a nation that managed to survive the greatest atrocity ever committed in human history only a few decades ago; and that has now fallen so low that its people are fighting each other at the holiest place in the world. They will think we have gone mad. And right they will be!
The Kotel is the only place in the world where there is no clock, no earlier or later. It is the one site that has never been abandoned by the Jews throughout our long history; the place for which we prayed for thousands of years, and at which we mourn every year. It is a wall that no Babylonian, Greek or Persian was able to destroy; a place for which, throughout millennia, we have broken millions of glasses at our children’s weddings, and for which our soldiers have sacrificed their lives. It is a wall soaked with the frozen tears of millions of Jews – women, men and children.
And now we are destroying it with our own hands, robbing it of its holiness and eternity. We are desecrating the tears embedded in its stones, and violating the memory of our soldiers who bravely fought so that we can present ourselves before God at the holiest place in the world. We will be left with only a wall drowned in fights and power struggles that hide behind questionable religious laws, secular agendas and huge egos.
Is this what we returned to our ancestors’ land for, after 2000 years? Is it for this that millions of prayers were sent to Heaven, collected by God, and ultimately answered in ways we dared not imagine but which actually materialized in our own days?
Here, then, is my humble request to all fighting parties: Leave the Kotel alone and stop this madness. Go and fight somewhere else.
And though I realize that my suggestion will probably not be taken seriously by many of you, the day may likely come when you will regret it.
And if you will not, perhaps it is preferable that the government close down the Kotel entirely and wait until we Jews regain our sanity, and can sit together to discuss its future in a civilized manner.
When that takes place, God will wink at us approvingly because we will have finally grown up, and we will wink at God since we will have realized how foolish we had behaved.
Perhaps then the Mashiach will come. But not a second earlier. Until now, we have blocked his entrance to the gates of the Kotel.
Israel Patt, the legal advisor of the Ministry of Religious Services, on Thursday determined that the Kotel Rabbi cannot legally prevent the mixed afternoon prayer being planned by the Reform and Conservative in the Kotel Plaza.
The decision to hold the mixed service—in the common area leading up to the men’s and women’s section—was reached by the leadership of both movements in Israel in response to the confrontational prayer service with a mehitzah-divider that was conducted on Tuesday by Jerusalem Chief Rabbi, the Rishon Lezion Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar — on the platform at the southern section of the Kotel officially reserved for mixed prayers.
The mixed prayer protest in an area that is not intended for prayer at the Kotel Plaza, had been planned originally to protest the collapse of the Netanyahu government promise to provide “egalitarian” services at the Kotel, which has been reneged on due to fierce objections from the Haredi coalition partners.
Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites of Israel initially requested legal advice regarding his authority to use police forces to remove the participants in a mixed service from the plaza.
In an urgent response letter he sent to Rabbi Rabinovitch, Patt insisted that “After examining the issue, after consulting the relevant legal authorities, and on the opinion of the Attorney General, we’ve reached the conclusion that under the current circumstances there is no room for you to exercise your authority to prevent mixed prayer in the upper Kotel plaza.”
The intended mixed prayer service is planned not for the “Kotel sundeck” platform erected by former Religious Services Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) in 2013, which was re-divided and staked by Rabbi Amar on Tuesday, but rather in the area of the plaza which is past the security check post and before the side-by-side men’s and women’s sections.
The Movement for a Jewish State on Wednesday appealed to the Justice Minister and the Chief of Police to prevent the mixed prayer service in its planned location, calling it a violation of the law and a show of contempt for the legal authorities.
Some photos from the prayer protest can be seen here.JNi.Media
A journalist heard about an old Rabbi who visited the Kotel, the Western Wall, to pray there three time a day, every day for 50 years.
Thinking it was a great story, he traveled to the Kotel, and watched the old man at prayer.
When he finished, the reporter went over to interview the rabbi and asked, “Rabbi, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall to pray?”
“Around 50 years,” the rabbi answered.
“Wow! And what do you pray for?”
“I pray for peace between Jews and Arabs. I pray for an end to hatred and for brotherhood among all the nations.”
“And how do you feel, after doing this for 50 years?” the reporter asked.
The rabbi responded, “Like I’m talking to a wall!”Photo of the Day
The police will be prohibiting Jewish foot traffic to and from the Kotel via the Muslim Quarter from Shabbat evening until 1:30 AM on Sunday.
Last year, Arabs stabbed 2 Jewish boys that were on their way to the Kotel from Damascus Gate (Sha’ar Shechem) on Shavuot night .
As Ramadan coincides with Shavuot this month, police feel they will be unable to protect Jewish pedestrians, and it will be easier to simply not allow Jews into the area with numerous Muslims.
On Shavuot night, it is traditional to learn all night, and then walk to the Kotel for morning prayers at sunrise.Jewish Press News Briefs