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September 24, 2014 / 29 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Western Wall’

Pope Francis Lashes Out at Nazi Murderers During Yad Vashem Visit

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Pope Francis has had a busy day so far in the ancient Old City of Jerusalem.

He began his day on the Temple Mount, in the Al Aqsa Mosque, visiting with the Mufti of Jerusalem and the Waqf Islamic Authority. The pontiff was quoted as telling both, “May we work together for justice and peace.”

Given the violence that has emanated week after week from that quarter towards Christians and Jews alike, that would seem to be a tall order. There is no information about the response of the Arab officials to the Pope’s comments at the mosque. On the first leg of his journey to the Holy Land, yesterday, he made an unscheduled stop at the separation barrier that was built by Israel to prevent suicide bombers from infiltrating and murdering citizens in areas of the country that were under the government’s control prior to 1967.

The Pope was then led to Judaism’s holiest site for prayer by Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch. The Kotel (Western Wall) had been cleared of visitors for security reasons earlier by police. The pontiff bowed his head in prayer with his hand on the ancient stones. He followed those silent moments of communion with the Creator by placing a note in the Wall — an ancient tradition observed by nearly everyone who comes to the Wall — and embraced close Jewish and Muslim friends with him.

Francis met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres and made a quick visit to the Mt. Herzl cemetery where he laid a wreath at the tomb of the ‘father of Zionism,’ Theodore Herzl. He then visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center in a moving ceremony where he laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance and greeted six Holocaust survivors. There the pontiff questioned the role of G-d in the slaughter of the millions of victims murdered by the Nazis.

“The Father knew the risk of freedom, he knew that His children could be lost, yet perhaps not even the Father could imagine so great a fall, so profound an abyss,” he reflected. Having lit the memorial light in the center just minutes before, he compared the Nazi Holocaust to idolatry, and standing before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, himself a survivor, lashed out against the murderers.

“Who convinced you that you were G-d? Not only did you torture and kill your brothers and sisters, but you sacrificed them to yourself, because you made yourself a god. Today, in this place, we hear once more the voice of G-d: ‘Adam, where are you?’ Hear “L-rd and have mercy,” Francis prayed. “We have sinned against You. You reign for ever.”

The Pope also received from Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev a reproduction of a painting of a Chossid engrossed in prayer created in the Lodz ghetto by a teenage victim of the Holocaust.

He is expected to celebrate Mass at the Cenacle, the upper room in the complex where some believe the tomb of the Biblical King David is located – and where Christians believe the Last Supper took place, sometime before leaving to return to the Vatican in the afternoon hours.

There have been protests against the Pope’s visit to various sites in the Old City of Jerusalem by both Muslim and Jewish groups, both saying the leader of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church is intent on defiling their respective holy places of worship.

Kotel to be Closed Monday Morning for Pope

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Call it a practice run. Entry to the Kotel was blocked a few times over the past few weeks due to a lack of guards available to check all the visitors.

But that’s nothing compared to this coming Monday morning, when the entire Kotel plaza will be closed to all visitor, until 10:30 AM.

‘Vatikin’ prayer-goers will have a special bus to take them to the Kotel, leaving from the Karta parking lot between 5:00 to 5:30 AM.

The indoor section of the Kotel on the side of the men’s section will be open for prayers during the morning, with access apparently through the Muslim Quarter.

Kotel Closed for Third Time

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

For the second time this week, and the third time since Pesach, the Kotel plaza was closed to visitors because no security guards could be found to men the security stations at the entrance to the site.

It was the second time this week that the Plaza has been closed due to a shortage of guards. According to a statement by the office of Rav Shmuel Rabinovitch, Rabbi of the Kotel, this morning’s closure led to scuffles at security points by visitors forced to enter the Kotel plaza via alternate entrances.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation has asked Israeli authorities to annul the contract with Civilian Information, the company that provides security at the Western Wall.

Kotel Closed Due to Lack of Security Guards

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Jerusalem police closed the main entrances to the Western Wall plaza this morning (Monday). The Civil Security firm that provides security at the site simply did not have enough employees available for the job, according to a press release issued by the rabbi of the Kotel, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch.

It was the second time in recent days that police were forced to close the entrances.

Sources close to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation have asked the police to reconsider the outsourcing contact with Civil Security. “If this happens even once more, we will eventually get to a situation in which people trying to visit the Kotel are forced to run from place to place, looking for an entrance,” said a WWHF official.

A Nation in Unity on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Israel’s flag is waving at half mast and the memory of 23,169 lost Israeli soldiers and victims of terror has quieted the nation on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day.

No music plays in the neighborhoods, and children are not laughing today on the streets. A somber air is felt throughout the country as Israelis remember their fallen.

Some of those are not even Jewish. They are Bedouin or Druze or Circassians who have thrown in their lot with their Jewish neighbors. They, too, have paid the price.

Few indeed are those in this country who have not lost at least one family member in military action or terror, or are not close to someone who has, in the struggle to fulfill the mitzvah to hold this Holy Land, Eretz Tzion, Israel.

By age 16, all Jewish teens in Israel receive their first IDF notice, summoning them for exams to determine a medical, educational and psychological fitness profile. The IDF recently announced it will soon begin to send voluntary draft notices to all Christian Israelis, offering them the chance to enlist in Israel’s army as well.

By 18, most boys and girls in this country are smiling and nervously getting into fitted green or camel-colored uniforms, queuing up at central bus stations before and after Shabbat and talking about what happened in their new units “at the base.”

They’re babies, really — babies learning how to face killers; other babies fed on evil hatred since birth. Last year, 40 died, though some of those were reservists, IDF soldiers who return to serve 30 days a year to help the “newbies” and the career soldiers keep Israel safe from its enemies. “Reservists” can be soldiers in their 20s — or as old as 40.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to show those that haven’t experienced it the size of the grief that befell us, the intensity of the shock that grasps us, and the sense of loss that fills us,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained at Monday’s ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery, attended also by President Shimon Peres, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and a host of other officials.

Paraphrasing and slightly changing a well-known Psalm of King David, he said, “There, we sat at the graves of our loved ones, and wept, and we remembered our loved ones that fell for the sake of Zion.”

Sweeping the entire People of Israel into unity with Israel’s grief over its fallen, the prime minister said, “On this day, the entire people relates to the heroes of the nation. They come from all parts of the nation and from all parts of society. The simple truth that is the most concise is this: we would not be here if it were not for their sacrifice.

“Even if it means unparalleled pain, a great miracle happened here. Israel returned to her country, to her home, established a state and did wonders, but at this moment we should not forget that it is a privilege to be here.”

People came to their feet across the country as a siren wailed into the skies at 11 o’clock in the morning, reminding Israelis of the price paid for peace, and Israel’s defense.

A candle lighting ceremony at the Western Wall last night, announced by the nationwide siren at eight o’clock in the evening, also featured an address by President Peres.

“We, the Israelis, are not like every people,” the president pointed out. “Already for years a sad generation hasn’t relaxed, hasn’t been able to enjoy a time of happiness. Our joy is always missing. A cloud of sadness envelops us. It is deeply hidden, but one can see it in our eyes.”

The president spoke of parents who lost their children, “the image of the soldiers that fell in Israel’s wars… They did not have time to plant a tree. They didn’t taste the full flavor of love. They left behind you, the bereaved families… and us, the friends, to painfully remember.”

Archaeologists Find Ancient Chisel that May Have Helped Build Kotel

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Archaeologists have discovered a treasure of Second Temple-era objects, including a chisel that may have been used to build the Western Wall, but officials at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) are not officially confirming anything until conclusive studies are completed.

IAA archaeologist Eli Shukrun told Haaretz that he discovered the 2,000-year-old chisel last summer during digging in a tunnel at the lower base of the Western Wall, popularly known by the Hebrew word “Kotel,” which was the western outer wall of the courtyard of the destroyed Second Temple. The Kotel was not a wall of the Holy Temple itself.

Shukrun also told the newspaper that he found a golden bell that may have been used by the High Priest, but the IAA reported the same discovery three years ago, and it is not clear if the archaeologist has found  an additional bell along with the chisel.

The Torah states in Exodus, Chapter 28 Verse 3, “”A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, on the hem of the robe all around.”

Shukrun and Prof. Ronny Reich, who have been digging in Temple Mount area for 19 years, also found a Roman sword and a ceramic seal that probably was used as a stamp of approval for sacrifices brought on the Holy Temple.

 

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/arab-violence-closes-temple-mount-to-visitors-again/2014/04/17/

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