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Inside Hulda Gate to the Temple Mount

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

The Hulda Gate is the southern entrance to the Temple Mount, also known as the ‘Double Gate.’

I was there, on the inside, in 1986, with the Knesset’s Interior Committee on its famous tour when we were later attacked by a mob of Muslims, throwing rocks and yelling Itbah El-Yahud (‘Kill the Jews’). It was a melee and I had to rush/run Geula Cohen north to the Tribes of Israel Gate to get out safely:

About 15 parliament members, including members of the Knesset Interior Committee and the right-wing Tehiya Party, toured the site protected by hundreds of white-helmeted riot police carrying clubs and plastic shields.  Witnesses said hundreds of police fended off the demonstrators, who surrounded the Knesset members and chanted, “With blood and fire we shall redeem you, Al Aqsa.”

More below on this.

Lenny Ben-David has now posted two pictures taken probably in the early 1930s:

The first shows the passageway leading away from it under El-Aqsa:

The second, shows a lintel portion and column head:

Much renovation work was done after the 1927 earthquake.

Here’s a screen snap of the southern wall just from the inside today, from a clip showing a column head and the window facing south:-

If its the same column, the head has been damaged.

This is the area I’m referring to (outlined in yellow), from Warren’s sketch:

The Hulda Gate is the first of a series of three, on the left of the marked box.

A bit more detailed:

This is the best source – R. W. Hamilton, The Structural History of the Aqsa Mosque. A Record of Archaeological Gleanings from the Repairs of 1938-42, Government of Palestine, Jerusalem 1949. And the Mandate-period Quarterly of the Department of Archaeology in Palestine.  Both located in libraries.

Here’s a short clip of the current entrance although that green doorway is the the same.

As for that 1987 visit, here’s from the JTA report:

…Likud MK Dov Shilansky, and Laborite member Dov BenMeir over whether the Moslem religious authorities were altering the area in violation of the law.

Shilansky, an outspoken advocate of the right of Jews to worship on the Mount, which is the site of two of the holiest shrines of the Islamic faith, claimed he discovered that the Supreme Moslem Council and the Waqf — the Moslem Religious Trust which is caretaker of the shrines — were converting an underground area known as Solomon’s Stables into a giant mosque with room for 100,000 worshippers.

He accused the Waqf of building unauthorized prayer platforms on the Mount and destroying archaeological evidence of the Jewish past But the worst violation, he said, was the attempt to build a new religious center for Moslems from all over the world in Solomon’s Stables. “I don’t understand why they need a mosque for 100,000 people. This is 10 times bigger than Al Aksa,” Shilansky said…

Ben-Meir, who is a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, said the only evidence of change he saw on the tour of Solomon’s Stables was the installation of electric lighting.  He charged that the visit by the Knesset committee was intended by the rightwing parties to show the Moslems that the Jews are “the boss” on the Temple Mount. He said it was an example of extremists on both sides joining to “put fuel on the fire.”

Mayor Teddy Kollek of Jerusalem also questioned the wisdom of the visit. He called it “headline hunting.” He said there was no evidence of any illegal construction on the Temple Mount.

Shilansky led a group of Knesset members and Orthodox Jewish activists on a visit to the Temple Mount several years ago. They were surrounded by a hostile crowd and had to be extricated by police. There were no incidents during Tuesday’s visit. Police guards outnumbered the Knesset members.

And here’s the story in AP.

We all know who was right and correct – Shilansky.

Visit My Right Word.

Final Part of the “Allah Islam” TV Documentary Airs

Friday, September 28th, 2012

If you saw our posting [here] about the thoughtful Israeli television series that takes a remarkably close look at Europe’s Muslims, you may be interested to know that the fourth episode of the four-part series went to air this week on Israel’s Channel 2, and is posted in full on the web.

The final episode looks at Europe’s Jewish communities and their experiences with Europe’s fast-growing Muslim population. Again, few conclusions, and as with the first three parts, the audience is left to draw their own conclusions from what they see and hear.

Click here to watch the video.

Unfortunately there are no English subtitles. At this stage, the series is intended for an Israeli audience. But to judge from the impact and the responses we have seen, it’s very likely to be repackaged for non-Israeli audiences very soon.

Visit the This Ongoing War blog.

Are Your Investment Decisions Rational?

Friday, September 28th, 2012

As a financial planner, I often ask new clients why a particular investment is included in their portfolio. One answer that I find somewhat worrying is: “I don’t really know how to explain it, but I just had a gut feeling that this stock was going to be a winner!”

Often the stock in question is anything but a winner, but that isn’t the point. If you were to fit a new kitchen, would you simply walk into a builder’s showroom and say that you wanted the kitchen cabinets that are in the storefront window because you had a “gut feeling” about them as soon as you saw them, or would you first visit several showrooms, research the types of materials used and other factors that are important to your decision? Of course you wouldn’t order home renovations based on gut feelings, because thousands of dollars are at stake, as well as the fact that you will have to live with the results of your decision for a very long time.  Just like investing.

Yet very often, investors base their financial decisions on irrational reasoning.

The way that emotions affect investing has become a science and much research is conducted into various phenomena such as loss aversion, mental accounting, and herding. Emotions influence investors’ decisions in many more ways than you would expect. Sometimes fear drives an investor to sell a stock because a sudden dip in the market makes him afraid he’ll lose everything. And, at the other end of the spectrum, is the person who did well with a certain small investment, and figures that because he did well once, he’s bound to do even better if he does it again. He continues to invest in something that might not be appropriate at increased levels, just because he wants to duplicate his previous “win.”

On my radio show, Goldstein on Gelt, I interviewed several researchers who study behavioral investing, including Professor Terrance Odean of Berkeley University, Nobel Prize Winner Professor Daniel Kahneman, and best-selling author Professor Dan Ariely (click on their names to watch videos of these interviews). Watch the videos and let me know if the research on behavioral finance jives with your investment decisions.

PM Netanyahu Apologizes for Embarrassing Ban Ki-Moon

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for publicizing details of a conversation between the two regarding the Ban’s visit to Tehran in August.

According to a report by Haaretz, Netanyahu called to apologize for making Ban’s participation in a conference of the Non-Aligned movement in Tehran public information, and for letting his office “leak” to the media that he had participated in a phone conversation with Ban in which he urged the leader not to go to Iran for the mid-August meeting.

A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that Netanyahu called Ban several days later to apologize, saying that while he was against Ban’s visit, he did not intend to embarrass the secretary-general.

During the conversation, Netanyahu told Ban he had heard and appreciated Ban’s condemnation of Iranian Holocaust denial and threats to destroy Israel.

Focus on Israeli humanitarianism: Eye from Zion

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Eye from Zion, established in 2007 by Israeli businessman Nati Marcus, is a humanitarian organization dedicated to giving the gift of sight to poor people in developing countries.

Israeli volunteers travel anywhere they are needed to treat patients, sending experienced ophthalmologists, advanced equipment, and operating room nurses to cities in Ethiopia, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Myanmar and dozens of other countries around the world.

Eye from Zion doctors also instruct the local health professionals in developing countries they visit in modern medical techniques – while also donating medicine and equipment – enabling the local medical teams to eventually function independently.

Nati Marcus explained to me, via email, his motivation for starting Eye from Zion:

Each person to whom we restore sight, especially the children, is a world unto itself.

Along with my usual work, we built an organisation that has restored the sight of thousands of blind people across the globe by performing eye operations by instructing medical groups in developing countries. I succeeded.

I am a businessman, but four years ago I decided to something more serious with my life that could change the life of people across the world.

Video about Eye From Zion’s work:

Hagiang, Vietnam

Ethiopia

Careroon

Monks in Myanmar after surgery

Girl in Myanmar after surgery

Eye from Zion founder Nati Marcus

Visit CifWatch.com.

A World Untouched by Civilization

Friday, September 21st, 2012

The woman, wearing a tank top and jeans, has her full attention on the tomato box. The haredi woman touches one of her bare arms. The woman turns around and the haredi woman immediately snaps at her, pointing at her bare arms: “Next time don’t come to the market like this. Next time you’ll come with sleeves.”

The above excerpt from an article in Ynet illustrates one of problems isolationist societies like the one that Charedi woman ‘Tznius- cop” no doubt comes from.

Machane Yehuda (pictured) was overhauled by Jewish merchants very likely in order to compete with the Arab Shuk. The Arab Shuk was opened up to Jews after the 6-day war. And business boomed. Arab merchants of all types selling their wares had a new and booming market in all the Israelis and tourists that came to visit the Kotel. Going through the Arab Shuk was one of the common ways to leave that area. On my first trip to Israel I exited the Kotel Plaza that way. It was (and still is) a sight to behold.

But once the terrorism started, many Jews feared entering that area – although some Jews (mostly tourists I imagine) still shop there. The Shuk was a great place to buy produce at a very cheap price. Sensing a need, a new market for cheap produce was estabished outside the old city for Jews. It is called Machane Yehuda. If I recall correctly it is not far from Meah Shearim. Some people call it the Israeli Shuk.

Meah Shearim residents shop there. But they are not the only ones. Secular Jews are increasingly doing so. And that is where yet another clash of cultures takes place.

Here’s the problem. Meah Shearim Jews have a heightened sensitivity to Tznius violations. A woman wearing a sleeveless top and slacks will be considered inappropriately attired.

While this may not be a Halachicly acceptable way for a Jewish woman to dress in public – most of the rest of the world – religious Jews included – is used to this kind of dress and thinks nothing of it. Even for those who do consider it a problem they simply try not to look at an immodestly dressed woman. In the world of Meah Shearim this intolerable. They cannot handle it.

So to the extent they are able – they try to impose their modesty standards. Hence one will see signs related to female dress as one enters the Meah Shearim neighborhoods. This phenomenon in and of itself is tolerable. The residents of that neighborhood have a right to express their sensitivities to those who enter their neighborhoods. What they do not have a right to do is enforce them. Unfortunately some of the more militant residents of that neighborhood don’t care about whether or not they have that right or not. They enforce it. In some cases using means that the Mafia would be proud of.

There are horror stories of acid or bleach being spilled on innocent passersby if they were dressed in less than Meah Shearim community Tznius standards. They also have Tznius squads that go around checking what people wear and intimidating merchants into carrying Tznius signs throughout Meah Shearim and the nearby Geula neighborhood. They have torched stores, beat up businessmen who sold “inappropriate” technology, and vandalized a religious bookstore for refusing to carry one of their signs.

Until recently their tactics have been limited to their own neighborhoods. But now they have decided to branch out. We all know about the intimidating tactics that took place last year in Bet Shemesh where an eight-year old girl was harassed daily on her way to a religious school and called a whore. But now they are branching out. To places like Machane Yehuda. And instead of men doing the harassing – it is women.

Last year it happened to some women walking in the streets of Jerusalem outside of the Meah Shearim neighborhood.

Here’s the thing. They cannot impose their standards on the world. They do not own the world. Just because they see someone they think is not properly dressed does not give them the right to intimidate them. To most of the civilized world that is a forgone conclusion. But not for them.

The Holocaust Then And Now

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

One of my searing early memories from Israel is a visit nearly four decades ago to the Ghetto Fighters Museum in the Beit Lohamei Hagetaot kibbutz. The world’s first Holocaust museum, it was built soon after the Independence War by survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

Despite its posted visiting hours the museum was closed when I arrived. Not yet socialized to Israeli indifference to the yekke virtue of promptness on which I had been raised, I politely knocked on the door. Then I knocked more loudly, and insistently. After a few moments of mounting frustration, I pounded assertively. Finally, a janitor appeared and beckoned me inside.

Directly ahead was a display case with a single tiny pair of child’s shoes. It was hard to imagine a more poignant remnant from the brutally destroyed Warsaw community. Its brave leaders, young men and women in their twenties, had chosen to resist the Nazi onslaught rather than die in gas chambers.

Their desperate but doomed rebellion erupted on April 19, 1943, the eve of Passover. Three weeks later, Szmul Zygielbojm, a member of the Polish government in exile in London, wrote: “I cannot continue to live and to be silent while the remnants of Polish Jewry, whose representative I am, are being murdered. . . . I wish to give expression to my most profound protest against the inaction in which the world watches and permits the destruction of the Jewish people.” Then he committed suicide.

On May 16, after nearly 50,000 Jews were rounded up for deportation to death camps and 13,000 heroic fighters had been relentlessly hunted down and murdered, Nazi commander Jürgen Stroop triumphantly declared: “The Jewish Quarter of Warsaw is no longer in existence.”

Thirty-four surviving fighters escaped through the sewers, among them Zivia Lubetkin, one of the underground leaders of the uprising. After the war, she married Yitzhak Zuckerman, who had commanded the ZOB resistance organization in Warsaw. They were among the founders of kibbutz Lohamei Hagetaot, built on memories of Jewish annihilation.

I visited the ghetto museum to pay homage to the 7-year-old Jewish boy from Warsaw, exactly my age at the time, whose iconic photograph was indelibly imprinted in my memory. Standing among a group of Jews “forcibly pulled out of dug-outs,” according to the photo caption from Stroop’s report, his arms were raised in surrender, bracketing his terror-stricken face. Wearing a cap, coat and knee socks, he was properly dressed for his final journey, surely to Treblinka.

As I completed my visit, the janitor approached and had me follow him downstairs. There, in her office, I met Zivia Lubetkin, about whom I knew nothing at the time. She brusquely asked about my background, my reasons for coming to Israel, and my response to the exhibits.

When I mentioned the shoes, her eyes blazed. I was, she sharply reminded me, old enough to remember the Holocaust. I was a Jew. I might have been among those children. With children of my own, she asked pointedly, how could I justify my decision to raise them in galut? I had no answers. I remained silent.

These memories were recently revived while reading Edward Rothstein’s “An Evolving Holocaust Message” in the International Herald Tribune (September 7). The message that Rothstein perceptively illuminated is that Israeli Holocaust museums – most conspicuously Lohamei HaGetaot – have decided to emphasize the “universal lessons” of the annihilation of six million Jews. “Indifference to the suffering of others,” not merely to Jews, must be confronted. The museum director mentioned plans to expand its mission to encourage “tolerance” between Jews and Arabs.

At kibbutz Yad Mordechai, which commemorates the courage of Warsaw Ghetto uprising leader Mordechai Anielewicz, the museum director concurs. She wants it to shift focus from “racism and xenophobia” to “peaceful coexistence” (as though future Nazis and their emulators can be taught by a museum visit to be civilized).

With this shift, Rothstein notes, Israeli Holocaust museums – with the conspicuous exception of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem – are emulating the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. It has become the model for universalizing the Holocaust, while underscoring the fashionable message of multicultural tolerance that its sponsors wish to convey.

That Israeli Holocaust museums should emulate their Diaspora counterpart reveals something profoundly dismaying about contemporary culture in the Jewish state. The Nazis targeted Jews for annihilation; now Israel confronts Muslim nations that are determined to destroy it. Yet despite eighty years of unrelenting Judeophobia, including the slaughter of six million European Jews and the expulsion of 700,000 Mizrahi Jews from their Middle Eastern homes, Holocaust museums are focusing on the necessity to be nice to neighbors rather than underscore the appalling consequences of hating Jews.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-holocaust-then-and-now/2012/09/20/

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