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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Western Wall Plaza’

UNESCO Resolution Denies Jewish Ties to Temple Mount, Kotel — Western States Vote Against

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Thursday adopted an anti-Israeli resolution ignoring the historic ties of Jews to the Temple Mount. 24 countries supported the resolution, which expresses doubt in Jewish ties to the Western Wall as well. Six countries voted against, 26 abstained and two were absent.

A senior foreign ministry told Haaretz that Israel’s diplomatic efforts have yielded a significant change in the way the European countries voted, with none of them supporting the resolution put forth by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan, under PA pressure. This marks a significant change from the April vote when European countries, most notably France, supported a similar resolution. This time France, Sweden, Slovenia, Argentina, Togo and India abstained instead of voting in favor.

The countries that voted against the resolution Thursday were the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia.

The resolution, which condemns Israel for a basketful of violations in Jerusalem and the city’s holy sites, states that Jerusalem is sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, but includes an item regarding the Temple Mount which only names it by its Arabic reference, Al Aqsa Mosque and Haram A-Sharif. The Western Wall Plaza is referred to as the Al Buraq Plaze, and its Hebrew name appears in quotation marks.

President Reuven Rivlin condemned the UNESCO vote questioning the historic connection of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount. Speaking on the eve of Sukkot, Rivlin said, “There is no festival more connected to Jerusalem than Sukkot. The festivals of Israel all highlight the inextricable bond between our people and our land, and no forum or body in the world can come and deny the connection between the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and Jerusalem – and any such body that does so simply embarrasses itself.” The President added, “We can understand criticism, but you cannot change history.”

Over the past few weeks, Israeli ambassadors to Western capitals as well as Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen have been blitzing their host governments with printed material issued by the foreign ministry proving through the myriad archeological finds the historic connection between the Jews and the Holy Land, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The publication‘s cover is a picture of the Arch of Titus depicting Jewish captives carrying the Temple utensils to Rome.


Suspicious Object in Tunnel Near Western Wall [video]

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Security personnel were summoned to the underground tunnels near the Western Wall at around 9:20 pm Thursday night to examine a hafetz hashud — a suspicious object — that was identified by local citizens.

Bomb squad experts were called to the scene and brought with them the robot, which was deployed to examine the item, which turned out to be a false alarm.

Detonating an explosive of any kind anywhere in that area is extremely risky, both from a human perspective and from a historic and archaeological one. The suspicious package was located right in the tunnels beneath the ancient stones of the retaining wall that supported the Second Holy Temple of Jerusalem.

The Western Wall Plaza was not crowded but there were still several hundred people in the area as the High Holy Days approach.

Hana Levi Julian

Police Arrest Women of the Wall Director for Torah Scroll Violation and Catch 22

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

Police arrested Lesley Sachs, Executive Director of Women of the Wall, as she was exiting the Western Wall plaza with a Torah scroll Tuesday morning. Sachs was detained for “disturbing the public order,” although, according to the WOW’s own report, the prayer service of about 80 women at the Kotel was “relatively quiet and uneventful” on Rosh Chodesh Sivan. Apparently, Police accused Sachs of smuggling a Torah scroll into the women’s section.

According to the WOW email, the incriminating Torah scroll was lent to WOW executive board chair Anat Hoffman by Peter and Lawrence Michaels from Congregation B’nai Israel in Sacramento, California, in memory of their parents, Ann and Rudy Michaels. Hoffman, who flew from Sacramento to Israel with the Torah scroll in her arms, related that on her journey she ran into her flight’s all-female team of pilots, Captain Wendi Shaffner and First Officer Katrina Mittelstadt, who were moved by the small Torah. The email did not specify what or where they were moved to.

“Though we believe that the Torah was handed down to women and men equally at Mt. Sinai, and though women and men both sacrificed their lives and loved ones for the reunification of Jerusalem, in 2016 Women of the Wall struggle for access to Torah scrolls at the Kotel,” the WOW statement lamented. Of course, these dear women could access as many Torah scrolls as they wished anywhere else, including at the Reform section of the Kotel a few yards away, but over at the Women’s section of the Kotel it was No Torah for you, ladies, which, apparently, defied the equality promised to women at Mt. Sinai. Not the one on Fifth Ave., the one in Sinai.

The email also accused Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the state-appointed administrator of the Kotel, of creating a “Catch 22” for women: “he prohibits entrance with private Torah scrolls and refuses women access to the 100 scrolls he holds at the Kotel for public use in the men’s section.” But that’s not a catch 22, which was described by Joseph Heller in his 1961 novel by the same title via the character Doc Daneeka, an army psychiatrist who invokes “Catch 22” to explain why any pilot requesting mental evaluation for insanity—hoping to be found not sane enough to fly and thereby escape dangerous missions—demonstrates his own sanity in making the request and thus cannot be declared insane.

Rabbi Rabinowitz simply doesn’t want women to read out loud from the Torah at the Kotel because he interprets this as a desecration of halakha. As the WOW email confirms, he has the right to interpret it this way because he is the state appointed official in charge of interpreting Kotel-related issues.

The real question, not asked by WOW, is how come Sachs was picked up at the end of the Rosh Chodesh prayer session in which she openly defied the law, and not while she smuggled it in, or while the women were reading from it?

In a final episode of Heller’s book, the Catch-22 rule is described to Yossarian, the main protagonist, by an old woman recounting an act of violence by soldiers: “Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.”


David Israel

President Rivlin at Western Wall Memorial Day Ceremony: ‘We Must have Faith in the IDF’

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

The Memorial Day for the Fallen in Israel’s Wars began Tuesday afternoon with a ceremony at the Yad LaBanim Memorial in Jerusalem, in honor of the 23,447 who have died in Israel’s wars since 1860. 2,576 Israeli civilians have perished in hostilities since 1948. Prime Minister Netanyahu opened the day saying, “The national reconciliation is born by our shared destiny, and there is no deeper and nobler expression of this shared destiny than this day.”

Hundreds, including Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, participated on Tuesday night in the ceremony in honor of Memorial Day and the lighting of the memorial candle at the Western Wall plaza. The ceremony commenced following a country-wide siren marking a minute of silence at 8 PM.

President Rivlin told the assembled at the Western Wall that “over the past year we didn’t get to be together much. We dug in, each in the righteousness of our path — we’ve had disagreements. Naturally they are hard and piercing and they have to do with the essence of our life here. But the IDF is not only everybody’s army, it is everybody. The cover of loss is over all of us with blood curdling accuracy — the same pain, the same longing, the same shared destiny. The red marks prick equally in Negba and in Tel Aviv, Kiryat Arba and Marar, Sderot, Jerusalem, Yeruham, and Shlomi. We have to remember: the IDF does not navigate the ship. The IDF is doing all it can, in the best and most professional possible way, to make sure the ship can navigate its own path safely and reach its destinations. Our faith in the IDF and its commanders is our faith in ourselves. It is our faith in our strength, in standing before our losses, your losses, in the righteousness of our way.”

Maj. Gen. Eizenkot said at the ceremony that the unity of the nation “is the foundation of the Israel Defense Forces, and it shapes it as the nation’s army, as a state army.” He added that the IDF commanders and soldiers must be certain “without the shadow of a doubt, that the entire nation supports them and stands behind them, even when there are disagreements. Unity does not necessarily mean agreement, but we mustn’t allow these gaps to damage the unity of our goal. The faith of the people in the IDF is crucial to the accomplishment of our task: protecting the state, securing its existence, and if needed — victory in war.”

At 9:15 PM, the Knesset held the event “Singing in their memory,” in the presence of the President, the Prime Minister, the Knesset Speaker, Minister of Defense, the Deputy Chief of Staff, and the chief of police.

On Wednesday morning a second, 2-minute siren will be sounded, at 11 AM, followed by the State Memorial Ceremony for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers at Mount Herzl, with the president, the prime minister and the chief of staff. At the same time many local ceremonies will be conducted in cemeteries throughout Israel, including the military cemetery in Kiryat Shaul, Tel Aviv, where Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will speak. On Wednesday evening there will be a ceremony of lighting torches on Mt. Herzl, which will mark the end of Memorial Day and the start of the 68th Independence Day festivities.

David Israel

Western Wall is Just Fine, Test of its Stability Shows

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

The Western Wall checked out fine in a test of its stability by engineers.

The office of the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, said there were no abnormal findings in Tuesday’s test. The check was made less than two weeks before the start of the High Holidays, when hundreds of thousands of people visit the Western Wall Plaza.

Previous tests have found stones that broke during bad weather.

Malkah Fleisher

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/western-wall-is-just-fine-test-of-its-stability-shows/2012/09/05/

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