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April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Western Wall’

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.

A Third Intifada to Begin at the Temple Mount?

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Once again, on the eve of a major Jewish holiday, Israel Police have  closed access for Jews and Christians to the Temple Mount due to intelligence “there would be disturbances” if Jews were allowed to ascend to the site.

Hundreds of tourists who flocked to the site on Monday were turned away due to violence spawned by Muslim rioters the previous day.

Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told The Jewish Press in a telephone interview Monday morning, “Police officials made the decision to close access to the site based on information there would be disturbances similar to those that occurred yesterday, and which caused injuries to two police officers. As a result, access to the site was restricted solely to Muslim men age 50 and above, and to Muslim women of all ages.”

Asked whether Muslim women had never caused any disturbances at the Temple Mount – which they have on numerous occasions — Rosenfeld responded: “Muslim women do not pose any problem for Israel Police. It is Muslim men under age 50 who are the most dangerous to the general population and to police officers during disturbances at the site.”

On Sunday police closed the Temple Mount to visitors — but not to Muslim worshipers — after Muslim rioters hurled rocks and firebombs (Molotov cocktails) at police officers posted at the Mughrabi Gate near the Western Wall Plaza.

Two Israel Police officers were injured in the riot which started when the site was opened to visitors.

Rosenfeld claimed he had “no idea what [you] are talking about” when asked about a report posted on the Arutz Sheva website describing a virtual takeover of the Temple Mount by “dozens of Hamas men… waving Hamas flags and ‘not allowing Jews and tourists into the Mount.’

The site has always been a flash point of contention between Jews and Muslims. There is no holier site in the Jewish faith, and it ranks third in importance in Islam.

The Temple Mount encompasses the Western Wall – the last remnant of the Holy Temple, the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount. It is the wall that was the closest to the Holy of Holies when the Holy Temple once stood in Jerusalem.

In Judaism, the Temple Mount is also known as Mount Moriah, which according to Jewish tradition is the place where the creation of the world began from the Foundation Stone at the peak of the mountain, and is where Adam, the first human being, was created.

It is also the site where the Biblical patriarch Abraham was commanded to prepare his son Isaac for sacrifice, (by the way, the Muslims believe it is Ishmael who was nearly sacrificed) and where the binding of Isaac – the Foundation Stone – took place. The Holy of Holies, around which both the First and Second Holy Temples were built, is set around the Foundation Stone.

Known to the Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, the Temple Mount site is believed to be that from which Islam’s prophet Mohammed ascended to heaven to speak with God about the details of prayer rituals after a night-long journey to Jerusalem, “the farthest mosque,” on his steed Buraq. For this reason, Islamists fight with particular ferocity over the site and do what they can to claim sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

Israel’s willingness to allow the Islamic Waqf Authority to administer the site has backfired dozens of times as increasing violence by Islamist extremists on the eve of every Jewish holiday makes it clear it is impossible for the status quo to continue.

A similar scenario was deliberately used by Hamas to ignite the Second Intifada in the year 2000 when MK Ariel Sharon made a visit to the Temple Mount just prior to the Jewish new year holidays, setting off violent Muslim riots and sparking a lethal police response. It seems likely that plans are afoot to recreate the same scenario again.

‘Muslim’ Boy Escapes Arab Village and Holds Bar Mitzvah at Kotel

Monday, April 7th, 2014

A 13-year-old boy born to a Jewish mother and raised in an Arab village celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at the Western Wall last week after she had escaped with him and her two daughters from her “prison at home.”

Details of the dramatic rescue mission cannot be published, said the anti-missionary Yad L’Achim organization, which engineered the escape.

The location of the Arab village is not known, and lips are sealed on how the woman, identified as “R,” was able to contact Yad L’Achim despite prison-like conditions imposed on her by her Arab husband. No information has been released about the ages of her two daughters.

The boy, identified as “S,” recited the blessing over the Torah in a tear-jerking celebration last Monday at the Kotel in Jerusalem. On his way to the Western Wall, a social worker who accompanied him asked what he would have said a year ago if told that he would be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel the following year.

“S” replied, “I would have asked, ‘What’s a Bar Mitzvah.?’ My father forbade my mother to speak anything about it, and I didn’t even know I was Jewish.”

“R” suffered two decades in what is a common story of a young Jewish woman falling into the charms, and usually gifts, of an Arab and then marrying him, converting to Islam and becoming a prisoner in his house and a victim of wife-beating.

Her Arab husband prohibited her from making contact with other women in the village, and he did not allow her to step out of the house alone.

After the rescue, Yad L’Achim took the woman and her children to a “safe” house and helped provide the means to help her rehabilitate back into normal life.

Relying on the organization’s legal advice, she filed a complaint with the police, charging her husband with violence, and she nullified her conversion to Islam in a Rabbinic Court.

Senior PA Minister Says Jews Must Be Banned from Western Wall

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Senior Palestinian Authority ministers and clerics have hardened their positions on the Western Wall, which they call the Muslim Al-Burqa wall, and are making it clear that Jews would not be allowed there under a Palestinian state.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) once again has translated and published official Palestinian Authority hatred of Jews and denial of a Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

Palestinian Authority Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash and the former Chief Justice of the PA’s Religious Court both recently declared that the PA’s Islamic belief and political position is that Jews are prohibited from praying at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount.

The PA claims that the area of the Muslim holy site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, includes not only the mosque itself, but extends over the entire Temple Mount and includes the Western Wall.

PMW has found a statement made in an Arab-language newspaper by  Sheikh Tayseer Al-Tamimi, former Chief Justice of the PA’s Religious Court, who said, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque includes all its courtyards, foundations, skies, gates, domes, walls, and specifically, its western wall (Al-Buraq Wall), [parentheses in source], which is, after all, a part of it…”

PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash, quoted on official Palestinian Authority television late last year, said, “Jerusalem is religion’s trust and history’s trust in the hands of all Muslims, in the hands of this Ummah (Islamic Nation)… The Al-Buraq Wall (i.e., the Western Wall of the Temple Mount) is an authentic part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque only.”

To use an expression repeated often by former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a trained ape could see the obvious pattern developed by the Palestinian Authority.

When it says it wants to create a future state on the Temporary Armistice Lines declared in 1949, it means more than that. It wants to duplicate Jordan’s policy at the time of barring Jews from the Western Wall and any other holy sites throughout Judea and Samaria.

Sheikh, Al-Tamimi, the former Chief Justice of PA Religious Court, stated in the Al-Hayyat Al-Jadida newspaper in February, “Allah decreed that the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is Islamic and belongs to Muslims alone… It is part of the religious belief of a billion and a half Muslims, and the Jews have no right to it. No party, no matter how much power and international support it has, can change this established fact by giving the Jews any right to it, or the right to pray in any part of it. The Al-Aqsa Mosque includes all its courtyards… and specifically, its western wall.”

Al-Habbash, the Minister of Religious Affairs, pointed out that no one, God forbid, should think that he would keep Jews from visiting holy sites. “Freedom of worship in our Jerusalem is guaranteed to all,” but then he added the clincher that “nonetheless, we have rights, principles and positions that cannot possibly be altered.”

He would not harm the rights of others, and the good Muslim cleric is so learned he knows what sites are Jewish. Since the Western Wall is not one of them, there is no reason for Jews to be allowed to desecrate the Wall by even coming near it.

In any future Palestinian Authority state established according to the wishes of Mahmoud Abbas, Kerry, with his brilliant diplomatic skills, could broker a deal by which Jews would be allowed to pray at a replica of the Western Wall to be built outside the State Dept.

Below is a video of Abbas, as far back as three years ago, categorically stating to the Arab League that Muslims must “save” Jerusalem from the Jews.

Isn’t funny that no one says the Jews must save Jerusalem from the Muslims?

Reform and Conservative Jews Upset over Plans for Robinson’s Arch

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Reform and Conservative Jewish groups are upset with a reported draft agreement that would  put the City of David Foundation in charge of the Western Wall’s Robinson’s Arch area, where they can pray in a women’s minyan with a Torah scroll.

The tentative agreement calls for the government to transfer control of the Jerusalem Archaeological Park and Davidson Center to the City of David Foundation, Haaretz reported. The foundation runs the extremely popular City of David tourist site in Jerusalem’s Old City and works to settle Jews in the Silwan neighborhood, across the road from the entrance to the Western Wall Plaza.

Avoid conflict at the widely-visited area of the Western Wall.

Israeli Conservative movement CEO Yizhar Hess told JTA that the draft agreement concerning the Davidson Center caught non-Orthodox groups by surprise.

“We were negotiating the final details of how it would be managed,” Hess said. “It was never mentioned that the City of David Foundation would be the one to actually run the place.”

Hess said that the Reform and Conservative do not take a stance on the foundation’s political leanings, which they claim are decidedly rightwing, but explained that if implemented, the draft agreement would depart from a compromise on the Western Wall outlined by Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky last year. Sharansky’s outline proposed creating a pluralist council to manage the site.

Rabbi Meir Schuster, the ‘Man of the Wall,’ Dies at Age 71

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Rabbi Meir Schuster, known to thousands of lost Jews as the “Man of the Wall” who provided them with the spark to light up their lives with Torah, died in Jerusalem on Monday at the age of 71 and was buried on Har HaZeitim (Mount of Olives.)

Rabbi Schuster ran the Heritage House, a hostel for the proverbial lost and wandering Jew who, no matter how far away from Judaism, “did” the Western Wall (Kotel).

Rabbi Schuster, later with his assistant Jeff Seidel, gave food and lodging to thousands of young Jews, many of whom had no desire to know anything about Judaism. Many of them simply took up the offer for a free meal and bed with the idea of taking off the next day as if nothing exceptional had happened.

Many of them indeed forget about the rabbi and Heritage House, but many also never forgot and never have stopped thanking God for this man who in his quiet and unassuming way literally saved thousands of Jews from becoming lost forever.

On Rabbi Schuster’s website, people posted their personal stories, which were read to him during his recent treatment for cancer.

Following is the story of a man who is identified as “Reuven”:

I grew up with no knowledge about and no positive feelings for Judaism. In the autumn of 1981, after finishing college, I decided to travel through Europe.

Winter caught me moving further and further south, until I reached Greece. On a boat to Crete, I met some other fellow-travelers who told me that Israel was the place to go. Until then, it had honestly never entered my mind. I liked the thought of wintering on a kibbutz. After a couple of rainy months on the kibbutz, I decided to visit Jerusalem for a day or two.

I had barely entered Jaffa gate when I felt a soft tap on my shoulder. Turning around, I saw a tall, bearded man with a black hat and suit. What in the world did he want from me? “Are you Jewish?” he asked me.

I honestly didn’t know what to answer him. I had told the people at the kibbutz office that I wasn’t Jewish, but they saw right through me. Bored silly at the kibbutz, I had been reading “The Source” by Michener, and was actually, for the first time, getting interested in Israel and the Jewish people.

My hesitation was all he needed to hear. He asked me if I was hungry (what young traveler to Jerusalem on a cold, wet, winter day and a tight budget is not hungry?). For some strange reason I let him lead me to a nearby Yeshiva, which was my introduction to Judaism. It was, in all honesty, the first time in my life that I ever felt, and accepted being Jewish.

Now, 29 years later, living in Yerushalyim with a wife and many children, learning Torah and davening each day, I marvel at what R’ Schuster has been able to do. It was probably only R’ Schuster’s total, unadulterated sincerity and authenticity that disarmed me and convinced me to go with him.

I don’t think anyone else could have done it – I was that wary of ‘religious solicitors’. Had I sensed even a trace of self-interest, ‘charisma’ or ‘charm’ I would have bolted. He made himself into a shaliach for his Creator, and in his inimitable fashion, let nothing else get in the way.

Thank you R. Schuster.

That story has been duplicated hundreds of times over. Most rabbis who try to bring Jews back to Judaism are pushy. Many of them are nudgers and preachers. Rabbi Schuster was the opposite. He was gentle and never asked anything of anyone.

Canadian MP Failed to Win ‘$Million’ Photo-Op with Harper at Kotel

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

A Canadian Jewish legislator lost out on an attempt for a “million dollar shot” with Prime Minister Stephen Harper during a visit to the Western Wall (Kotel), Canadian media reported.

Jewish Conservative Member of Parliament Mark Adler is looking ahead to next year’s election in his district where nearly 20 percent of the residents are Jewish.

Adler, rebuffed by one of Harper’s staff for a photograph of his standing with the prime minister at the Kotel, tried again. “This, it’s the re-election. This is the million-dollar shot,” Adler said.

The staffer replied, “I’m sorry, listen, you and 300 other people.”

After his remarks were reported, Adler insisted he was joking and said, “You guys don’t get a joke, huh? It’s all said tongue-in-cheek.”

Failing to use the Western Wall pilot to win possible votes, Adler settled for a Twitter photo showing entourage leaving the area and a tweet stating,  ”Leaving the Kotel in Jerusalem with @pmharper and the Canadian delegation.”

Harper wrapped up his maiden visit to Israel and moved on to Jordan, where he offered $150 million in aid  to help the kingdom take care of Syrian refugees and respond to the threat of chemical weapons.

In his visit to the Palestinian Authority earlier this week,. Harper announced $66 million in aid for the Abbas government.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/canadian-mp-failed-to-win-million-photo-op-with-harper-at-kotel/2014/01/23/

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