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November 28, 2015 / 16 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Western Wall’

75 Torah Scrolls at the Western Wall to Illuminate 75 Jewish Souls

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Seventy-five Torah scrolls in 75 gleaming new silver Sephardic Torah cases were brought to the Western Wall Wednesday night for a ceremony to commemorate the Jewish souls returned to their Creator last summer in Operation Protective Edge.

closing the new sefer Torahs

Sixty-five of the 75 new Torah scrolls was donated by Jewish communities from around the world as part of a project initiated by the Yad L’Banim organization. Ten others were donated through the Defense Minister by the Libi Fund, the Ministry of Religious Services and the Western Wall rabbi – all, in memory of the 75 people who were killed in last summer’s counter terror war against Hamas and allied terror groups in Gaza and elsewhere in Israel. After the ceremony, the scrolls were transferred to Yad L’Banim memorial sites and IDF bases across the country.

Both of Israel’s Chief Rabbis were present at the ceremony.

“This is the most powerful way we Jews remember our dead, and their memories will always be alive while we read and learn from each sefer Torah,” wrote a Facebook user who described the “emotional but beautiful event” following the ceremony.

“May their dearest souls be elevated by this event,” he added.

During the ceremony, the same Torah scroll that was carried by IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren after the liberation of Jerusalem’s holiest site – the Western Wall and the Temple Mount – was brought back from the IDF together with the other Torahs in a moving re-enactment of its first arrival to the site in the arms of the chief rabbi.

Rabbi Goren’s Torah scroll was carried by three IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and three paratroopers who re-enacted the famous black-and-white photo of Rabbi Goren holding the Torah scroll.

‘Jewish Holy Temples Never Existed’ Says Israeli Arab MK

Monday, July 27th, 2015

On the anniversary of the destruction of the two Jewish Holy Temples in Jerusalem, Tisha B’Av, an Israeli Arab lawmaker insisted in a radio interview that neither ever existed.

Joint Arab List (Ra’am Tal) Knesset member Masoud Ganaim made the statement during an interview Sunday (July 26) on Galei Tzahal Army Radio. Ganaim was asked – as was Jewish lawmaker Yinon Magal from the Bayit Yehudi party — about violent riots that were being perpetrated by Muslim Arabs in the Al Aqsa mosque on the site of the Temple Mount. The rioting Arabs hurled rocks, cement blocks, firebombs and other explosives at Israel Police and even Waqf Islamic Authority security personnel from inside the mosque.

When asked about the violence, Ganaim said that the rock-throwing was not the problem: the real issue, he said, was the “incitement” caused by Jews wanting to pray at the site, considered the holiest in the Jewish faith.

Ganaim also said during the conversation that no Jewish Temples ever existed on the Temple Mount – and that he knows this for a fact because he is a history teacher.

“The State of Israel knows that Jews and Israel have no legitimacy to the site except for their legitimacy as an occupier – a legitimacy won by force,” he said. The MK blamed Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) in particular for visiting the site on Tisha B’Av, calling the minister an “occupier” and his visit “incitement.”

Magal responded that a system of reverse “apartheid” exists on the Temple Mount – against Jews – and that despite the sanctity of the site in Judaism … a Jew who wants to make a blessing over an apple he is preparing to eat will be arrested for “incitement.” At the same time, police do nothing to Arabs seen screaming or hurling rocks at visiting Jews.

“The site has always been holy to Islam,” Ganaim repeated, “never to any other religion.”

Was there ever a Jewish Temple on the site? the interviewer asked directly.

Ganaim flatly denied it, and followed up by saying he knew that to be true because he personally is a history teacher. “At most,” there “may have been” a temple “somewhere else,” he allowed, but noted that Jewish scriptures only refer to a future Temple in Jerusalem descending from Heaven.

Jews need to wait until that happens before attempting to visit the Temple Mount, Ganaim advised.

The Western Wall, located at the edge of the Temple Mount, is the remnant of outer retaining wall of the Second Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a fact confirmed numerous times by reputable archaeologists. The Second Temple was built upon the ruins of the First Temple.

There also exist an abundance of archaeological artifacts documenting a Second Temple presence on the Temple Mount itself as well, believed to have been the site of the Temple’s “holy of holies.” There are special laws delineated in the Torah as to when and how a Jew must be prepared in order to approach the site.

The future Temple of which Ganaim spoke is the Third Holy Temple which Jews await and which is expected to appear with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkenu, the Messiah, who it is said will be born on Tisha B’Av.

May we all merit to see both speedily in our lifetimes.

Hotovely Says Foreign Dignitaries Must Visit Western Wall

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Israel finally has an honest religious Zionist as acting Foreign Minister.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely has changed protocol for foreign dignities who now will be asked to visit the Western Wall (Kotel) as well as Yad VaShem and Mt Herzl Cemetery.

The new protocol is at least the second major change she has introduced into the Foreign Ministry since her appointment by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

When she took office, she met with Foreign Ministry officials and gave them a short sermon on Torah – “Dvar Torah” in Hebrew – and instructed them to made the Jewish People’s Biblical right to Israel as part of  the “Hasbara” public relations program.

Now she wants foreign dignities to understand that official visits to Jerusalem sites should not be limited to the sadness identified with the military cemetery and the Holocaust Memorial.

Hotovely told the new head of the “Ceremonies Branch”” of the ministry to include the Kotel as part of the itinerary for foreign dignitaries, Yediot Acharonot reported.

She explained:

In my eyes, the fact that the Kotel will become part of official visits of foreign dignitaries in Israel is a meaningful statement that strengthens the position of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

This visit will take dignitaries from the ethos and sentiment of Yad VaShem, which deals with the catastrophe of the Holocaust, to the positive character of the Kotel that speaks of deep roots of the city.

This will change the view of visits from 100 years of Zionism to 3,000 years of Zionism.

Hotovely she has taken into account that there will be some dignities who will refuse to visit the Western Wall because they consider it part of “disputed territories,” depending on the visitor’s political agenda.

Barack Obama anxiously visited the Kotel when he was campaigning for president in 2008. In his last visit to Israel, he refused to come near to the holy site and instead opted for Tel Aviv.

“If there are those who refuse to visit, we will try to convince them to do so, but the change is that until now, visiting the Kotel was not even a priority in the Foreign Ministry.

She added that she will not object if dignities condition their visits to the Western Wall on their being able to go to the Temple Mount, presumably to visit mosques and not to utter forbidden non-Muslim prayers, or to the Holy Church of the Sepulchre.

The first foreign dignitary to come under the new protocol will be Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who will be met at Ben Gurion Airport next week by Hotovely. She will escort him to the Kotel.

Hotovely’s innovations – a Dvar Torah and now visits to the Kotel – are brilliant if not simple moves that should have been part of policy from Day One of the modern State of Israel.

The beauty in the changes is that leftist and pluralistic politicians and media cannot easily oppose them.

They may not like including a bit of Torah in Israel’s explanations to the international community, but how can they be against it without saying that the Torah should not an official part of Israel?

They may not like her including the Western Wall as a part of the protocol for vesting dignities, but as Hotovely said, the Western Wall is part of the Israeli consensus.

Hotovely’s real innovation is that her observance of Judaism is above politics, exactly what has been lacking in Israeli governments.

2 Israeli Picks on Travel+Leisure’s List of 10 Best Mid-East Hotels, One Best City

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

(JNi.media) This year, Tourism magazine Travel + Leisure’s readers’ favorite hotels ranged from Mexico to Spain, to India and to Tokyo, but many preferred establishments closer to home—nearly 40 percent of the hotels on the Top 50 list are located in the US.

Travel + Leisure’s also picked Jerusalem among the ten best cities for tourism in the coming year.

It hurt a bit that Jerusalem only ranked in 10th place with a score of 88.178. But they gave her good copy:

Christians, Jews, and Muslims converge to worship in this 4,000-year-old holy city, and their respective churches, synagogues, and mosques surround the historic Old City.

If you don’t trust this 4,000 year figure, check it out at the Jewish Virtual Library. They have it clocked at being first Settled in 3500 BCE. That actually makes it 4,500 years old. And don’t bother checking Wikipedia — they got their numbers from the Jewish Virtual Library…

Tourist copy continues:

Here, you can tuck a miniature prayer into the Western Wall, or see a fragment of clay engraved with cuneiform at the excavation site at Temple Mount. The iconic, gleaming gold Dome of the Rock is best photographed from the Austrian Hospice, which offers unparalleled views of the city and Mount of Olives.

Jerusalem, like every other city on our list, also has a stake in the contemporary and the secular. Luxury apartment buildings now erupt like stalagmites from the Judean Desert, and high-end restaurants, such as King’s Court at the restored Waldorf Astoria, are bringing a new upmarket appeal to this arid oasis.

Now, that’s appetizing writing!

No. 9 is Cape Town, South Africa, with a score of 88.271

No. 8 Barcelona, Spain, score: 88.587

No. 7 Krakow, Poland, score: 88.693

No. 6 Bangkok, Thailand, score: 88.907

No. 5 Rome, Italy, score: 88.992

No. 4 Florence, Italy, score: 89.429

No. 3 Siem Reap, Cambodia, score: 89.57

Seriously? Better than Rome and Jerusalem? Who are these people?

No. 2 Charleston, South Carolina, score: 89.843

Is that with or without the Confederate flag?

And the No. 1 city in the world: Kyoto, Japan, with a score of 91.22

The magazine also ranked the best hotels in the world by regions for 2015.

In the category of Middle East and Africa, two of the top ten hotels are in Jerusalem, Israel, with the prestigious King David Hotel’s in sixth place with a score of 87.29, and the David Citadel Hotel ranked eighth with a score of 84.24.

The top rated hotel for this part of the world is Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa in Johannesburg, South Africa, with a score of 94.75.

Both prestigious Israeli hotels are celebrity magnets. President Barack Obama stayed at the King David in 2013, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West preferred the David Citadel Hotel during their vacation in the Holy Land.

Incidentally, the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman, Jordan, came third.

It makes you feel so… Average… Sigh.

Illegal for Jews to Yell ‘Allahu Akbar’ at the Temple Mount

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Israel apparently has a double standard for law enforcement when it’s Jews who are yelling “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) at the Temple Mount and Western Wall plazas.

Jewish activists returned Wednesday to both areas in the Old City of Jerusalem in order to test their theory that police would not treat Jews as they do Arabs when they behave the same.

The Jews in the video were protesting a decision by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court that Arab chants of “Allahu Akbar” on the site – the typical radical Islamist cry by jihadists waging holy war – present no legal problem.

Justice Joiya Saqifa Shapiro determined in the decision that verbal attacks by Muslims shouting “Allahu Akbar” against Jewish tour groups on the Temple Mount do not constitute a criminal offense. Nor is there any legal problem with closing the site to Jews for a 10-day period until the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan due to a fear of rioting.

Activists arrived at the Western Wall entrance to the Temple Mount in force on Wednesday to protest both decisions.

“Surprisingly, and in contrast to the court’s decision that shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ is no problem at the site, police were called to deal with the activists’ yelling,” said the Honenu civil rights organization in a statement. “Police actually decided to arrest six of the protesters on suspicion of disrupting the public order.”

The Court has previously determined that such behavior presents no legal issue when it is carried out by Arabs at the same site, the group pointed out.

Honenu representative Isaac Weiner went to the police precinct to aid the detainees, and pointed out to police officials that the detention was illegal and constituted “blatant discrimination” by Israel Police.

The activists were released on condition they would respect a restriction barring them from entering the Old City for the next two weeks – and the area of the Temple Mount in particular.

Several of the activists are to appear at a hearing in the Magistrate’s Court today (Thursday, July 9) in order to officially review the restrictions imposed against them.

“Today has proven what we have been saying for a long time,” said a spokesperson for Honenu. “Authorities have ramped up discrimination against Jews at the holy sites in the Old City, in particular at the Temple Mount.

“It is inconceivable that Jews should be arrested by police for the same acts that do not constitute an offense in the eyes of the Court when carried out by Arabs.”

Honenu added that it would consider filing a lawsuit against the police for false arrest and a petition to appeal the order restricting the activists from entering the Old City.

Shas MK Begins ‘Three Week’s with ‘Senseless Hate’ against Reform Jews

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015


Minister for Religious Affairs, Shas Knesset Member David Azoulay, ridiculed approximately 2 million Jews Tuesday with the incredible statement, “A Reform Jew, from the moment he does not follow Jewish law…. I cannot allow myself to say that he is a Jew.”

His vile libel comes on the heels of the Netanyahu government’s rollback of religious reforms passed in the previous administration and which broke the gridlock that the Hareidi establishment has held over the conversion process and the approval for private and public eating facilities to be certified as kosher.

There are tens of thousands of Reform Jews who indeed are not Jews according to Jewish law because of  intermarriage. Jewish law states that if the mother is Jewish, so is the child.

But for the time being, most Reform Jews in the United States and elsewhere are Jews by birth, regardless of whether they follow Jewish law.

MK Azoulay’s rant comes during the first week of the “three weeks” of a semi-state of mourning over the destruction of the First and Second Temples on the Ninth of Av, which is observed at the end of the period.

Every year, rabbis preach that the sages teach that the Second Temple fell because of “senseless hate” among Jews,” and that every Jew today must express unlimited love.

And how does the Shas MK express his love? He told Army Radio today he cannot call them “Jews” and added:

These [Reform] Jews took the wrong path, and we need to make sure that every Jew returns to the lap of Judaism and [we need] to receive everyone with love and joy.To my sorrow, most of the Reform Jews in the Diaspora have erred. They are like babies who are hostages, and we want to make sure that every Jew will return  to Judaism according to Jewish law.

The most infuriating part of MK Azoulai’s remarks, worse than refusing to recognize Reform Jews as Jews, is his arrogant pretense that “we need to receive them with love and joy.”

The Hareidi establishment, of which the Shas Sephardi party is a major leader, does everything in its power to turn Jews off from Judaism.

Reform Judaism is not Judaism, and Reform rabbis are not rabbis, no more than alternative medicine is “medicine” and their practitioners are “doctors,” but to publicly say – or even privately think – that they are not Jews is nothing less than a blood libel.

Reform Jews never will be accepted with “love and joy” by the Israeli Hareidi establishment no more than MK Azoulay will accept national religious Jews with “love and joy.”

No matter how much Talmud we learn, and no matter how often we say the same prayers that Hareidim say – except for the addition of the Prayer for the State of Israel and the IDF that are absent from almost all Israeli Hareidi prayer books – it is not good enough for the their establishment.

Unlike the Agudah Hareidi movement in the United States, which practices “kiruv” – reaching out to non-Orthodox Jews to bring them closer to Judaism – the Hareidi  leaders in Israel are interested in power. They don’t accept others who do not dress like them, obey them like robots and contribute to their yeshivas.

There was an unconfirmed claim by the Women of the Wall yesterday that guards stopped a woman at The Western Wall because she was wearing a kippah.

The guards allegedly asked the woman to go with them to the police station, a request she refused.

Instead, she was escorted to a taxi stand outside the Western Wall Plaza.

CNN Promotes Old City on Verge of Extinction Due to ‘Political Tension’

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

CNN last week promoted the Old City of Jerusalem as the first of 25 “magnificent structures on the verge of extinction” but implied that Israel is the reason this is the “last chance to see” the sites.

UNESCO’s designation of 48 endangered sites includes the Old City and states:

As a holy city for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Jerusalem has always been of great symbolic importance. Among its 220 historic monuments, the Dome of the Rock stands out: built in the 7th century, it is decorated with beautiful geometric and floral motifs.

It is recognized by all three religions as the site of Abraham’s sacrifice. The Wailing Wall delimits the quarters of the different religious communities, while the Resurrection rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre houses Christ’s tomb.

The term “Wailing Wall” dates back to the period before the re-establishment of the State of Israel and includes periods when Jew were allowed at the external wall of the  courtyard of the destroyed Temple Mount only on the Ninth of Av, the day that Jews bemoan the fall of the First and Second Temples.

Today, everyone in the world, except UNESCO and Muslim leaders, refer to it as the Western Wall, or “Kotel” in Hebrew.

CNN did not even mention the Kotel or “Wailing Wall.”

It told its viewers last week:

No other site has spent more time on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger. The Old City of Jerusalem has held a spot since 1982. As holy city for three different religions, it attracts millions of tourists with over 200 monuments, including the majestic Dome of the Rock.

Then came the punch line. Why is it still endangered?

But political tension has hardened relations with Israel and UNESCP, preventing any preservation plans for moving forward.

CNN added a grave warning to people concerning all of the 25 sites it listed:

Go see them now, before it’s too late: threatened by neglect, the elements, changing architectural trends of ruthless developers. These outstanding buildings are all fighting a hard battle for survival.

Another website, known as “whenonearth.com,” lists UNESCO’s 48 endangered site, not to be confused with CNN’s list of archaeological sites that it chose, and states:

Why it’s special: It has significance religious implication to Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It contains hundreds of monuments with great artistic works and architectural structures. It also hosts Christ’s tomb.

Why it’s in danger: the continuous conflicts among different religions are demeaning the city and its walls. Some of the structures have also been destroyed due to conflicts and improper maintenance plans.

Neither UNESCO nor the two websites mentioned above state that the Old City is the site of the First and Second Holy Temples, the existence of which is increasingly being denied by Palestinian Authority and Arab world clerics who are trying to manufacture a new history that erases any link between Judaism and Jerusalem.

All of the sites serve that purpose very well by simply saying that the Old City is holy to Jews as well is Muslims and Christian, without any explanation why it is holy to Judaism. The Muslim Dome of the Rock is noted. “Christ’s tomb” or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is mentioned.

Nothing is said about Jews. No Temple Mount history. No Wall, Wailing or Western. Zilch.

But CNN took the trouble to mention Israel when it explained its version of why the Old City is on UNESCO’s list of sites that supposedly are endangered.

The network furthered UNESCO’s political aim to take control of the Old City by alleging that preservation plans have not advanced because of “political tension [that] has hardened relations” between Israel and the U.N. agency.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/cnn-promotes-old-city-on-verge-of-extinction-due-to-political-tension/2015/07/05/

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