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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Old City’

UNESCO Passes Second Resolution Erasing Judaism from Jerusalem

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee passed a second resolution Wednesday morning erasing the historic ancient ties between Judaism, Jerusalem and the holy sites in the eternal Israeli capital.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nachshon called the vote “a piece of rubbish.”

The measure was proposed by Tunisia and Lebanon on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and Jordan, neither of whom are members of the World Heritage Committee. That did not stop either of the two from threatening the voting members with an ultimatum, however, if they were to decide to vote against the resolution.

Entitled ‘Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls,’ the measure refers to the holy sites in the ancient city – including the site of the two Jewish Holy Temples – exclusively by their Arabic names and solely in terms of their Islamic status.

But of the 21 member states who were eligible to vote on the measure, just 10 voted in favor of the resolution. Eight abstained, and two opposed it. Jamaica was simply absent from the room. Eight others turned in entirely blank voting forms.

Last week the Executive Board of the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a similar resolution, this one entitled “Occupied Palestine.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response that the vote was a “continuation of the theater of the absurd. Radical Islamic forces destroy mosques, churches and archaeological sites, while Israel is the only state in the region that preserves them and allows freedom of worship for all religions.

“UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee deserves to be condemned, not Israel,” Netanyahu said.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites has also spoken out against the UNESCO Jerusalem resolutions, which are part of a campaign by the Palestinian Authority to reclassify all holy sites in the Israeli capital as solely Islamic in order to strengthen Muslim claims to Jerusalem. Last year’s texts, in addition to the previous resolution, referred to Israel as the “occupying power” and condemned the Jewish State for its alleged “activities” at holy sites in the city.

“There should be a clear distinction between political controversies and scientific facts and that political disputes … and political views cannot justify statements which erase basic and well known and proven historical facts,” said Council Vice President Gideon Koren, an Israeli attorney. The Council, an independent advisory body on manmade World Heritage Sites, decided to speak out after a board meeting in Istanbul.

UNESCO secretary-general Irina Bokova herself also condemned the resolutions, as did outgoing United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and tens of thousands of others who signed a petition submitted to Bokova earlier this week.

Hana Levi Julian

PM Netanyahu : UNESCO Resolution is ‘Theater of the Absurd’

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the UNESCO resolution passed Thursday rejecting Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Speaking at a Bible study gathering at his home, the prime minister urged the members of UNESCO to go visit the Arch of Titus, and “see for themselves” which treasures were plundered during the destruction of the Second Holy Temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.

“The UNESCO theater show continues,” Netanyahu said. “Today it took a ridiculous decision denying the connection between the Jewish people and the Western Wall. It’s like saying that the Chinese have no connection to the Great Wall of China and the Egyptians have no connection to the pyramids,” he said. “What’s next?”

The Western Wall was referred to as Al Buraq Plaza in the resolution, with its Hebrew name, the Kotel, in quotation marks only. UNESCO didn’t even bother to do that with the Temple Mount, referring to it only in Arabic as ‘Haram a-Sharif’ and Al Aqsa Mosque.’ The move clearly promotes the site solely as one sacred to Muslims alone, denying any sanctity or connection to Jews or Christians.

A line acknowledging recognition of Jerusalem “and its walls” as holy to the three monotheistic faiths, beginning with Islam, then Christianity, and finally Judaism, reveals the cunning of the Palestinian Authority attempt to “balance” its resolution so as to avoid the appearance of outright anti-Semitism, but fails to do the job.

The UNESCO vote was passed with a vote of 24 to 6, with 26 abstentions and 2 absences. Voting against the resolution were: the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Estonia and Lithuania.

“This resolution flies in the face of, among other things, science as recent archeological excavations, notably in the City of David, have revealed incontrovertible, physical evidence that reaffirms Jewish and Christian ties to the holy city of Jerusalem,” wrote Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) in a letter they wrote together, calling on the U.S. government to do what it could to block passage of the resolution.

U.S. Representative Ted Deutch of South Florida, meanwhile, tweeted the UNESCO vote dangerously seeks to rewrite Jerusalem’s Jewish and Christian history.

An official at the White House told the Jerusalem Post said a response to the letter was in the works.

“The recurring highly politicized use of the UNESCO Executive Board meetings only further underscores the urgent need for the United States to restore its leadership at UNESCO, which has been considerably undercut since the United States ceased funding UNESCO in 2011,” said the official.

Hana Levi Julian

Rivlin: UNESCO “Humiliating Itself” if it Approves Resolution Denying Jewish Ties to Jerusalem

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

By Michael Bachner/TPS

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said Thursday that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will “humiliate itself” if the world body approves, as expected, a draft resolution denying Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and other holy sites in Jerusalem.

“No forum in the world can come and say there is no connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem,” Rivlin said. “A body that does so is simply humiliating itself. History cannot be changed.”

UNESCO is scheduled to vote Thursday on a Palestinian Authority initiative condemning Israel for its conduct in and around Jerusalem’s Old City and denying Jewish ties to the city’s holy sites. The group is also expected to approve another anti-Israel resolution filed by the PA during the UNESCO Executive Board convention in Paris on October 23-25.

The resolution focuses on the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site and Islam’s third holiest, and contains no reference to the compound’s holiness to Jews. The draft refers to it the Mount only by its Muslim name, al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary. Even the Western Wall, an iconic Jewish site, is mentioned in the resolution mainly by its Arabic name, al-Buraq Plaza.

The resolution also denies any Christian connection to the sites and to the Old City, describing them as holy to Muslims only.

Both UNESCO and the Israel Antiquities Authority refused on Thursday to comment on the expected resolution, citing political reasons, but a slew of Israeli politicians slammed the expected approval. MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) called it “a shameful resolution meant to pressure Israel and erase the proven historical ties between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount and Western Wall,” adding that “our political status has never been worse.”

In the United States, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl) led a bipartisan effort criticizing UNESCO for trying to “delegitimize Israel.”

“Numerous archaeological excavations have uncovered a myriad of antiquities that scientifically prove the historical connection of all three religions to Jerusalem, such as the discovery of the Pool of Siloam or the restoration of floor tiles of the Second Temple in the City of David,” read the letter. “Yet, this resolution seems to prioritize the Muslim heritage of the Old City, while diminishing the ties of either of the other religions,” said the letter, signed by 39 Republicans and Democrats.

“The United Nations’ obsessive hostility towards Israel will be on display yet again this week,” added Cruz. “This resolution flies in the face of, among other things, science as recent archaeological excavations, notably in the City of David, have revealed incontrovertible, physical evidence that reaffirms Jewish and Christian ties to the holy city of Jerusalem. Members of the UNESCO Executive Board should vote against this intentional campaign to deny these historical truths, rewrite the history of Jerusalem, and delegitimize Israel.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

‘Jerusalem 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven’ at the Met [video]

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Between the year 1000 and 1400, roughly the time of the crusades (1095-1291), the city of Jerusalem became the most significant place in the known world, an object of desire to people from as faraway as Britain and even Scandinavia and Iceland to India. This universal preoccupation with Jerusalem, ushered a most creative period in the city’s history, the subject of a new exhibition opening Tuesday, Sept. 26, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The exhibition, “Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven” demonstrates the enormous influence of the city, sacred to the three monotheistic religions, on the art of that time.

“While Jerusalem is often described as a city of three faiths, that formulation underestimates its fascinating complexity,” says the exhibition’s web page. “In fact, the city was home to multiple cultures, faiths, and languages. History records harmonious and dissonant voices of people from many lands, passing in the narrow streets of a city not much larger than midtown Manhattan. This will be the first exhibition to unravel the various cultural traditions and aesthetic strands that enriched and enlivened the medieval city.”

More than 200 works of art have been gathered from some 60 lenders worldwide, with a quarter of the objects arriving from Jerusalem, including key loans from the city’s religious communities, some of which have never before shared their treasures outside their walls. “Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven” bears witness to the crucial role that the city has played in shaping world culture, a lesson vital to our common history.

The following are notes from the museum’s website, accompanying the exhibition.

“Beginning in about the year 1000, Jerusalem captivated the world’s attention as never before. Why did it hold that focus for the next four centuries?

“A kind of Jerusalem fever gripped much of the world from about 1000 to 1400. Across three continents, thousands made their way to the Holy City—from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions alike. Generals and their armies fought over it. Merchants profited from it. Patrons, artists, pilgrims, poets, and scholars drew inspiration from it. Focusing their attention on this singular spot, they praised its magic, endowed its sacred buildings, and created luxury goods for residents and visitors. As a result, the Holy City shaped the art of this period in significant ways.

“Dramatic circumstances, including natural disasters, political turmoil, intense religious fervor, and an uptick in world travel, brought new attention to the city. In the 1030s, the Fatimid caliph who ruled over Jerusalem forged an agreement with the Byzantine emperor to rebuild the Holy City after a series of earthquakes and the malfeasance of his predecessor. In 1099 European Christians achieved their improbable dream of conquering Jerusalem. In the wake of their bloody victory, they created glorious buildings and works of art for nearly a century. In 1187, the military leader Saladin (1137/38–1193) retook the city and rededicated its Islamic sanctuaries. In the late 1200s through the 1300s, Mamluk sultans blessed with stable reigns promoted the city as a spiritual and scholarly center.

“Throughout these years, the city was home to more cultures, faiths, and languages than ever before. As the site of both conflict and coexistence, it inspired art of great beauty and fascinating complexity.”

One of the exhibition’s many galleries is named “The Absent Temple.” It cites instructions from an early 11th century guidebook for Jewish pilgrims regarding a visit to the Temple Mount: “If you are worthy to go up to Jerusalem you should observe the following procedure: If you are riding on a donkey, step down; if you are on foot, take off your sandals, then rending your garment say: ‘This our sanctuary was destroyed.'”

But even with no Temple to visit, Jewish pilgrims flocked to medieval Jerusalem. They came to mourn the destruction of the Temple and pray that it would one day be rebuilt. Their prayers largely took place not within the city but around its walls. They made a circuit of the city’s gates—a custom that was revived after the liberation of Old Jerusalem in 1967—concluding at the eastern Gates of Mercy, built over an ancient gateway to the Temple. There they might scratch their names and prayers into the stone. They then ascended the Mount of Olives, the historic site where it is believed that the Divine Spirit will return at the time of Redemption. This significant spot east of the city afforded the best vantage point from which to gaze upon the Temple platform.

The installation features specially commissioned videos that provide subtle glimpses, as through windows, of the varied and colorful panorama of Jerusalem with its ever-present medieval monuments. Complementing the videos are short interviews with some of the fascinating men and women who maintain the city’s medieval legacy.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 899, September 26, 2016–January 8, 2017


Ethnic Cleansing? What Will Israel’s Prime Minister Think Up Next?

Sunday, September 25th, 2016

{Originally posted to the author’s eponymous website}

In a video message, he made the crazy charge that the goal of the Palestinians was “ethnic cleansing.” This atrocious sounding term usually refers to the actions of one ethnic group to not only kill members of another ethnic group, but to take over their land and destroy their homes, social centers, places of worship, and other evidence that they had ever lived there. Even cemeteries are not spared when it comes to ethnic cleansing.

How on Earth could the leader of Israel make such a pernicious accusation?

Because it’s already happened.

Just go back to 1948, not all that long ago. There are even Israelis who can testify to what happened.

That was the year that the Old City of Jerusalem was “ethnically cleansed” of its Jewish community, a community that had been living there for thousands of years. The city fell to the Jordanian Legion with help from local Arabs (who would later be called Palestinians).

Families who could trace their ancestry back through multiple generations of residency in Jerusalem found themselves targeted for destruction. Some were murdered, others were forced to leave their homes with nothing but the shirts on their backs.

Then their homes were destroyed. The synagogues, 58 of them, were ransacked. Every Jewish building was knocked down, burned, or otherwise destroyed. Even the ancient cemetery on the Mount of Olives was not spared. The place where Jews had been burying their dead for thousand of years was dug up and the grave stones used to pave roads.

“Ethnic Cleansing?” Could you find a better term for what happened to the Jews of Jerusalem in 1948.

Lest you think that these actions were one isolated example, look what happened in other areas that fell to the Arabs in 1948. Both the Jewish people and evidence of where they had lived was systematically destroyed.

There were three Jewish communities in the historic area of Judea known as Gush Etzion. These areas were besieged. The last stand of the Jews was the town of Kfar Etzion. They fought to the last bullet but where then forced to surrender.

Then they were collected and massacred. Not content to stop at murder, the homes, schools, and even agricultural fields were burned down. Again, the goal was to remove evidence that Jews had ever lived in the area.

“Ethnic Cleansing? To see that the Prime Minister was not so off-the-mark with his charge, a simple review of Israel’s history shows clearly that it has already happened once. If you listen to the anti-Jewish rhetoric of the Palestinian leaders, it appears that this is their goal once again.

So maybe rather than accusing the Prime Minister of demogeogary, those who condemned the Prime Minister should think about history. We have to ask why the U.S. State Department and

the U.N Secretary General were so quick to condemn Netanyahu while usually remaining silent about the extreme charges stemming from the Palestinian Authority.

Even if they don’t, the media who report their remarks have a responsibility to tell their readers why the accusation of “ethnic cleansing” is not so off base.

It would be refreshing to see the media report “Prime Minister Netanyahu has accused the Palestinians of seeking to ethnically cleanse the area of Jews, something that happened in 1948…” Rather than merely reinforcing the anti-Israel sentiment carried by much of the world, it would help explain why Israelis are so worried about the “peace process.”

Yarden Frankl

Update on Wounded Police Officer

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

The policewoman wounded in the terror attack on Monday outside the Jerusalem Old City Flower Gate continues to be serious, but she has been stabilized.

She underwent operations at Sharei Tzedek hospital to stop the internal bleeding and the stab wounds to her spinal column.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Security Exercise at Western Wall Ahead of Tuesday’s National Defense Drill

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Jerusalem District Police and other security personnel gathered at various areas around the Western Wall around midnight Monday night, sealing off all entrances to the plaza where pious Jews are known to pray at all hours of the day and night.

The move came in advance of the upcoming Jewish high holy days, and as part of the national security defense drill that officially starts throughout the country on Tuesday. It’s just easier to carry out security drills at midnight at the Western Wall — and thereby avoid worldwide panic — because that’s when almost no one else is around. At least, that’s when the tourists aren’t around. And Israelis are used to security drills.

“All the entrances and exits in and out of the Kotel (Western Wall) Plaza have been closed off,  hermetically sealed,” complained one resident of the Old City who asked on an internet chat if anyone else knew what was going on.  “Some kind of operation is underway,” another answered.  A second writer said a security exercise was taking place at the Western Wall and surrounds. Within a very few minutes, however, it was all over and the human traffic was flowing freely through the ancient alleyways once more.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Home Front Command begins a national security exercise for the entire country. Red Alert air raid sirens will activate at various times throughout the country, depending on where in Israel the reader lives.  Each community will  have two opportunities to “practice” making a beeline for one’s safe space or bomb shelter, once in the morning and once in the evening.

The IDF urges each citizen to participate in the exercise and take the opportunity to become familiar with the routine of accessing your safe space and the issues involved in getting there, and staying there.

Readers are advised to check the Home Front Command website to determine what time your Red Alert activation is set to begin. To find out more about the exercise, and to access the Home Front Command site, click here.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/security-exercise-at-western-wall-ahead-of-tuesdays-national-defense-drill/2016/09/20/

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