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July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Old City’

Jerusalem District, Border Police Block Jewish March to Temple Mount

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Border Police and Jerusalem District Police had their hands full late Tuesday afternoon trying to stop a demonstration by Jewish protesters determined to reach the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

Arab police officers questioned and detained kipa-wearing Jews at the Jaffa Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem on Yom HaAtzma’ut, Israel’s Independence Day ahead of a scheduled march demanding Israel reestablish its sovereignty on the Temple Mount. No provocation was apparent prior to the questioning and arrests.

Police also confiscated signs the group held without even looking to see what they said, according to an eyewitness who watched as the Jews gathered for a march to the Temple Mount.

As the march began from Jaffa Gate, the group of 25 protesters was not permitted to march through the Arab souk (market) in order to prevent violent protests by Arab shopkeepers. Instead, police funnelled the group southward through the Armenian and Jewish Quarters as they chanted, “Lo Niten Et Ha Bayit L’Oyev” (“We won’t give the Temple to an enemy”) and “Ha am doresh et ha har l’ishachrer,” (“The People demand the liberation of the Temple Mount”)

“Yesterday we marked Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) (for fallen Israeli soldiers). Today is a day of mourning for Israel’s independence,” one of the activists told The Jewish Press.

As the group moved through the Jewish Quarter, most bystanders looked on with mild curiosity, but one group of observers – members of the radical leftist Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) looked on with clear distaste. The group, comprised of foreign nationals who volunteer to support Palestinian Arab aggressors against IDF troops, believes the Temple Mount should belong solely to Muslims.

“The Temple Mount does not belong to Jews,” members of the group told The Jewish Press bluntly they believed the

JP: “I just want to understand correctly – are you saying that Muslims should have freedom of religion in Israel but that Jews should not have freedom of religion in the Palestinian and Arab world?”

“Yes, that’s correct,” said the EAPPI activist, who refused to give her name and would not allow her photograph to be taken.

Temple Mount activist Noam Federman told protesters that Israel must liberate the site, not only in order to rebuild the Holy Temple but also to make clear – to Jews and Arabs alike – that Israel is the sovereign power in Jerusalem, and has no intention of changing that reality.

As the parade wound its way through the Jewish Quarter towards the Arab souk next to the Temple Mount, more than a dozen Border Police and Jerusalem police officers formed a human chain at the corner of the souk and HaKotel Street, several hundred meters to the west of Cotton Merchants Gate, in order to prevent marchers from proceeding towards the Temple Mount.  After a 20 minute standoff and a tense service for the afternoon Mincha prayer, protesters clashed with police, who proceeded to force the gathering south towards the Kotel plaza.

No injuries were reported, but Israel News reporters that four individuals were arrested.

 

Ateret Cohanim Opens Pre-Army Yeshiva Across from Old City

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Just outside the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem, a new yeshiva sponsored by the Ateret Cohanim organization is set to open by the end of the month.

It will be the first all-mechina pre-army Torah Learning Center to be established in Jerusalem.

Otzmat Yerushalayim,’ the first such venture on Sultan Suleiman Street, is housed in the Israel Post Office and Bezeq building. In the same building one can also find offices for the Border Police and the national Israel Police.

The building is located at the main intersection near the Flowers Gate of the Old City, also known as Herod’s Gate, according to the yeshiva’s website.

The yeshiva will be open to some 300 pre-army Jewish students in an area that leftist Jerusalem municipality representative Meir Margalit fears is “a sure recipe for violence. This is a very strategic site and there’s a potential her to cause serious disruptions in civic life in this city,” he told Reuters.

Boys from the pre-army Academy of Otzem in Cholot Chalutza (also known as the Mechina from Atzmona in Gush Katif) are the first group to learn in the yeshiva.

The Otzem Academy will send groups of 30 students each to the yeshiva to learn for 7 to 14-day periods over the coming months, according to the statement posted on the yeshiva website.

Students enrolled in pre-army academies throughout the country will send their students to do the same, sponsored by donors locally and abroad.

Facilities include a Beit Midrash, dining room, kitchen and dormitory which can hold up to 30 students at a time. Attendees will participate in educational tours around the Old City in addition to their studies.

A formal “Chanukat HaBayit” – open house” ceremony – is expected to take place around the date of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), the holiday celebrating the reunification of Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital.

This year will mark the 47th year since Israeli soldiers took back Jerusalem from its Jordanian occupiers (in the 1967 Six Day War) and the barbed wire cutting the city apart was finally erased from the landscape.  Israel’s restoration and formal annexation of the remainder of the capital has not been recognized by the United States and by the international community.

At present, some 215,000 Jews live in the eastern part of the capital, which is also home to approximately 280,000 Arabs, most of whom hold Israeli identity cards and enjoy state social benefits, including comprehensive health care.

Government Plan to Hand King David’s Tomb to the Vatican?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Is there a deal in the works to hand the Tomb of King David over to the Vatican?

Rumors of such an agreement appear to have enough substance to have prompted Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) to write a query to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Hotovely reminded the prime minister of the importance of the tomb of the Biblical monarch, noting its sanctity to the Jewish nation. She warned Netanyahu not to make the same mistake with King David’s Tomb that previous administrations made with the Temple Mount – that is, handing sovereignty over the sacred site to a foreign power.

In the case of the Temple Mount, the Jordanian-linked Islamic Waqf Authority controls all matters over the site, even though it is located in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City and is the holiest place in the Jewish faith. Because the Waqf is in control, Jewish access to the Temple Mount is severely restricted – and Hotovely warned Netanyahu that handing the Tomb of King David to the Roman Catholic Vatican could create exactly the same situation for Jews there too.

There has not yet been any announced response to Hotovely’s letter.

Although an Israeli government source has denied any intention of transferring control over the site to the Vatican, other sources have said otherwise – including journalist Gulio Meotti, an editorial contributor to Arutz Sheva, who maintains there is truth to the rumors a deal is still in the works.

Apartheid Redux: American Sour Grapes When Shuttle Diplomacy Fails

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Here we go again, with another round of dealing with set of sour grapes topped off by the “A” word delivered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

It’s getting really tiresome when every time the Palestinian Authority reverts to form – and Israel refuses to lay itself on the sacrificial altar – the U.S. responds by waving international threats at us both. Especially when one of the flags waved at Israel is the silly “A” word.

It’s a plain fact that 99.9 percent of American diplomats and political leaders simply don’t “get” the reality of the Middle East.

The diplomats who are sent into the fray to “develop” or impose the latest solution to the complex problems existing between Israel and her neighbors are simply not equipped.

So they fail. It’s not their fault. It’s just not their ‘hood.

John Kerry is having a problem with this. Instead of accepting this reality gracefully, has collected his marbles and gone home to his boss with sour grapes.

But for the second time in less than a year, he has turned around and decided to fling the “A” word (apartheid) back at Israel. At least this time he included the Palestinian Authority in some of his recriminations.

Kerry told the Trilateral Commission in a closed-door meeting on Friday that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become an “apartheid state” like South Africa once was. A recording of the remark was obtained by The Daily Beast.

He also warned that a failure of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority — which basically were dead on arrival in any case — could lead to a ‘resumption’ of PA Arab violence against Israeli citizens. He then went further and hinted that only a change of leadership on both sides could make a peace deal more likely.

The latter reveals his total ignorance of the region — since succeeding leaders on the Arab side generally just brush away the decisions of predecessors — or their own if the prevailing mood of the people doesn’t suit — in any case. Arab promises are rarely kept beyond a generation, if that long. Witness the numerous attempts at maintaining a unity government between Fatah and Hamas in the Palestinian Authority over the past seven years.

With regard towards the risk of ‘resuming’ PA Arab violence against Israelis, the man is living in a bubble because that violence never ended. Ask anyone who lives in Jerusalem, Judea or Samaria or drives on roads in any of the areas. I personally know people who were unable to make it to the Mount of Olives to visit the graves of loved ones this year due to the the violence — and that, while talks were supposedly in place. I know tour guides who could not take friends to certain market places in the Old City — a place we all agree is supposed to be an open tourist safe place — because of the risk to their safety.

As for apartheid, he is wrong on all counts, and even his own boss knows it. In 2008 then-Senator Barack Obama bluntly stated in an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, “There’s no doubt that Israel and the Palestinians have tough issues to work out to get to the goal of two states living side by side in peace and security, but injecting a term like apartheid into the discussion does not advance that goal. It’s emotionally loaded, historically inaccurate and it’s not what I believe.”

Of course, Obama may have changed his mind since then, but personally I doubt it. If anything, there are more examples today than ever before of integration between Arabs and Jews, on both sides of the 1949 Armistice Line.

Arab Violence Closes Temple Mount to Visitors Again

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Israel Police closed access to the Temple Mount to Jews and other non-Muslims on Thursday due to Arab violence a day earlier, and a resulting threat to safety that might follow.

This, on the day that tens of thousands of Jews gathered below at the Western Wall plaza in the Old City of Jerusalem for the traditional Birkat Kohanimthe priestly blessing from Jerusalem. The benediction is pronounced during the morning service on the festivals of Passover and Sukkot.

The decision to close the site was made by security personnel following Arab violence at the Temple Mount on Wednesday. One police officer was wounded, as were 24 others. One of the wounded was listed in serious condition, and 15 sustained moderate injuries.

Nearly 100 young Arab rioters clashed with police in fierce battles at the holy site, hurling large rocks they have stockpiled in large caches at the Al Aqsa Mosque, where they barricaded themselves for protection.

The rioters also hurled firecrackers at the police from inside the Islamic house of worship, as security personnel used stun grenades and tear gas to force the mob further into the mosque.

The Arab strategy – designed to prevent Jews from ascending to the Temple Mount for any length of time — is very smart, taking advantage of the Israeli government policy of not allowing police to enter the mosque. The site itself is administered by the Islamic Waqf Authority; at this point, Israel has essentially ceded control to Arab Muslim officials.

Six Arab youths were reportedly arrested during the night and early Thursday morning in connection with the disturbances.

Ultimately, Israeli security officials told Channel 2 news on Wednesday they will have to force their way into the mosque to take away the caches of stone weapons, which are just as lethal as any bullet when properly aimed and hurled.

It is important to realize that the huge piles of rocks and slabs of stone with which the young terrorists are attacking Israeli security personnel, tourists and other visitors to the site, are being stockpiled with the  knowledge and consent of the Islamic clerics in charge of the mosque. Those clerics — and their actions — are fully backed and supported by the Arab leaders in the region, including King Abdullah II, the Hashemite monarch of Jordan.

Preparations Completed for Priestly Blessing from Jerusalem

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Rabbis have been busy preparing the traditional Birkat Kohanim, the Blessing of the Priests, set for Thursday.

One of the most moving events in the entire holiday, Jews and Gentiles alike flock to the Western Wall from around the world to be present for the blessing.

The benediction is given solely by Jewish males who are descended from kohanim – those who are in the patriarchal line from members of the priestly class dating all the way back to the time of the ancient Holy Temples. Those who recite the blessing cover themselves (and any children they may have with them) with their prayer shawls, spreading out the shawl in such a way so that they are unseen by others as they recite the benediction.

The blessing at the Western Wall is recited during the morning service by thousands of Kohanim during Chol Hamoed, the intermediate days of the festival of Passover. It is also recited during the intermediate days of the festival of Sukkot.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews come to visit and pray at the Western Wall in the Old City in Jerusalem during this holiday, and many arrive only for the purpose of being present to receive this special blessing.

Archaeologists Inaugurate King Solomon’s Coronation Site

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

In a secret ceremony held Tuesday, officials inaugurated the  site of King Solomon’s coronation in the City of David.

The massive Canaanite fortress, built some 3,800 years ago, protects the Biblical Gihon Spring by allowing access to the water solely through a western entrance from within the city.

In the Book of Samuel (Shmuel) II, Chapter V, King David conquered the Zion Fortress from the Jebusite king and his men. Archaeologists believe it is possible they have discovered the fortress referred to in the Biblical passage, entered by King David’s soldiers as they conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites.

At the beginning of the Book of Kings I, the prophet Nathan and Tzadok HaKohen describe the coronation of King Solomon as having taken place “on Gihon.” Researchers believe the ceremony took place at the heart of the Spring House, over the gushing Gihon Spring.

“When we open the Bible and read about King Solomon who was crowned here, on the Gihon Spring, today you can come and see that this is where it all started,” said Oriya Desberg, director of development at the City of David.

It took archaeologists 15 years to uncover the structure in one of the most complex and digs ever undertaken in the State of Israel.

The Spring House is a massive Canaanite fortress built in the 18th century BCE and is the largest such structure ever uncovered from the pre-Herodian period.

The archaeological dig from which the fortress emerged was led by Haifa University’s Professor Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“In order to protect the water source, they built not only the tower, but also a fortified passageway that allowed the city residents a safe access to the water source,” explained archaeologist G. Uziel. The passageway continued to operate until the end of the Iron Age, the archaeologist said, “and it was only when the First Temple was destroyed that the fortress collapsed into ruins and was no longer used.”

The walls  – 23 feet (seven meters) thick – were built with stones that are about ten feet (two to three meters) wide, and no mechanical tools were used in the construction.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/archaeologists-inaugurate-king-solomons-coronation-site/2014/04/03/

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