Joined by Netanyahu, Brazilian president makes trailblazing trip to Western Wall

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Joined by Netanyahu, Brazilian president makes trailblazing trip to Western Wall

Braving Jerusalem rain, Bolsonaro becomes first foreign head of state to be accompanied by Israeli PM on visit to the holy site

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touch the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in the Old City of  Jerusalem on April 1, 2019 (Menahem KAHANA / POOL / AFP)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touch the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 1, 2019 (Menahem KAHANA / POOL / AFP)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was joined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Western Wall on Monday, becoming the first foreign head of state to visit the site together with a senior Israeli official.

His unprecedented step could be seen as a tacit recognition of Israeli sovereignty over that location in Jerusalem’s Old City, which the international community generally considers occupied Palestinian territory. The Western Wall, part of the retaining walls of the Second Temple, is the holiest place where Jews can pray.

After Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch read a chapter from the Book of Psalms, Netanyahu and Bolsonaro approached the wall, braving the rainy Jerusalem weather.

After the Brazilian president placed a note in one of the cracks, the two leaders leaned against the ancient stones for several seconds in quiet contemplation.

After the short ceremony, they toured the Western Wall tunnels, which are located underneath the Old City’s Muslim Quarter.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro visits the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem’s Old City with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on April 1, 2019 (Amos Ben-Gershom / GPO)

At a visitors center, the two men viewed a virtual reality recreation of the Jewish temple that once stood on the Temple Mount.

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During his election campaign, and even in the weeks that followed his victory, Bolsonaro promised to follow US President Donald Trump’s lead in transferring his country’s embassy to Jerusalem. But before he arrived in Israel on Sunday morning, he appeared to backtrack, indicating that he would open a trade mission in the city instead.

Meeting Netanyahu on Sunday, Bolsonaro announced the opening of a “trade, technology and innovation office” that would be “an official office of the Government of Brazil, in Jerusalem,” the prime minister said.

“I hope that this is a first step toward the opening in time of the Brazilian embassy in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu said on Sunday evening during a joint press appearance at the Prime Minister’s Residence on the capital’s Balfour Street.

“Recognizing the historic ties of Jerusalem with the Jewish identity and that the city is the political heart of the State of Israel, I announced today that Brazil will open there a Brazilian office to promote trade, investment and exchange in innovation and technology,” Bolsonaro tweeted later that night.

Jair M. Bolsonaro

@jairbolsonaro

Reconhecendo os vínculos históricos de Jerusalém com a identidade judaica e também que a cidade é o coração político do Estado de Israel, anunciei hoje que o Brasil abrirá lá um escritório brasileiro para promoção do comércio, investimentos e intercâmbio em inovação e tecnologia.

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So far, the US and Guatemala are the only countries to have their embassies in Jerusalem. Paraguay moved its embassy to the city last year, but has since relocated it to Tel Aviv.

Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă on March 24 announced that her country would move its embassy to Jerusalem, but an actual relocation seems unlikely because President Klaus Iohannis — who is staunchly opposed to the move — has the last word on the matter.

On the same day, Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández announced his intention to “immediately” open a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem that would “extend our embassy to the capital of Israel, Jerusalem.”

In recent weeks, several countries have opened or announced plans to open trade or cultural centers in the capital, including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia.

The international community does not recognize Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, including the Old City, and so visiting foreign dignitaries generally refrain from going there in the company of Israeli officials.

Those who do want to tour the holy site usually do so in a private capacity, though in recent months an increasing number of foreign leaders have defied standard protocol and allowed Israeli diplomats to join them at the wall.

On March 20, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo became the first American top diplomat to visit the site together with an Israeli prime minister, underlining the recent trend.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on March 21, 2019, during the second day of Pompeo’s visit as part of his five-day regional tour of the Middle East. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
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Israel: Is History Being Destroyed At The Western Wall?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Is evidence of Temple’s destruction being destroyed by a bid for Jewish unity?

Archaeologist Prof. Dan Bahat files a High Court petition to stop Western Wall construction. What is the archaeology that is currently covered, and what is in the provisional plan?

  • A Spanish-speaking teen tour rests on the Robinson's Arch prayer platform, April 2018. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)
    A Spanish-speaking teen tour rests on the Robinson’s Arch prayer platform, April 2018. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)
  • The egalitarian prayer platform at the Western Wall's Robinson's Arch archaeological area. (Eilat Mazar)
    The egalitarian prayer platform at the Western Wall’s Robinson’s Arch archaeological area. (Eilat Mazar)
  • The view from the Western Wall section of the Robinson's Arch prayer platform to the larger, impermanent area that was established in 2013. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)
    The view from the Western Wall section of the Robinson’s Arch prayer platform to the larger, impermanent area that was established in 2013. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)
  • View of fallen Second Temple building blocks from the Robinson's Arch pluralistic prayer platform next to the Western Wall. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)
    View of fallen Second Temple building blocks from the Robinson’s Arch pluralistic prayer platform next to the Western Wall. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)
  • A 19th century image of Robinson's Arch. (public domain)
    A 19th century image of Robinson’s Arch. (public domain)

June 7, 1967. It is the third day of the Six Day War and after 19 years of exile by the Jordanians, the Old City of Jerusalem has been captured by Israeli forces. Dan Bahat, a soldier stationed in the country’s now reunified capital, asks for two hours of leave from his commanding officer. A secular Jew, Bahat makes his way to the Temple Mount.

“I came to the Western Wall the moment I heard it was liberated,” he told The Times of Israel. He recalled that he reached the wall exactly when former prime minister David Ben-Gurion arrived for the first time.

Called the “Wailing Wall” since the 13th century, it is here at this remnant of the two Jewish Temples’ retaining wall that Jews have historically mourned their destruction: the First Temple was destroyed in 586 BCE by the Babylonians, and the Second Temple, first modestly built some 70 years later, was fully renovated and massively enlarged by Herod circa 20 BCE, then destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE.

Following the 1967 war, the houses surrounding that portion of the Western Wall were razed, making way for what is now the stone-paved plaza used for prayer and state ceremonies. On the south side of the plaza, the Mughrabi Bridge, the only entrance available for non-Muslims to ascend to today’s Aqsa compound, separates the prayer pavilion from the section of the Western Wall that was set aside for archaeological research and a national park.

A soldier in the Paratroopers Brigade’s reserve reconnaissance company cleans his rifle as his injured comrade reads the newspaper near the Western Wall on June 7, 1967. (Micha Bar-Am/Defense Ministry’s IDF Archive)

Standing in the park, what immediately captures the imagination is the massive stone rubble, lying exactly where it landed when Roman soldiers pried the huge ashlar stones from the Temple Mount high above. Here, more than in any other place in the park, one can resoundingly conceptualize the horror of the fall of the Second Temple and the destruction wrought there.

However, since a High Court case in 2000, the archaeological park is also officially used as a space for egalitarian prayer. And now, after decades of contentious struggle and negotiations between all major Jewish denominations in Israel and abroad, under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office, a large permanent prayer platform is in the final planning stages for construction.

“The Western Wall is sacrosanct,” said Bahat, now retired from a career as a prominent archaeologist. “But out of a national monument, it has become a synagogue.”

It is the unrivaled historical value of this site and the antiquities in it that led former Six Day War soldier Bahat to petition the High Court of Justice in March for a stay of construction in the Western Wall’s Robinson’s Arch area. A hearing is set for December.

From 1963-1990, Bahat was employed by the predecessor to the IAA, eventually becoming the district archeologist of Jerusalem. From the mid-1980s on, he served as the long-time lead archaeologist on the Western Wall Tunnel excavations.

Preparations for the creation of a plaza next to the Western Wall, June 17, 1967. (From the collection of Dan Hadani, National Library of Israel).

Represented by the prestigious Yigal Arnon law firm, Bahat’s March petition is against the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and its head, the Prime Minister’s Office, Culture Minister Miri Regev, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who all have played a role in the planned platform.

The platform’s implementation is a remnant from the much-negotiated, now-frozen 2016 government decision that earmarks the site as a permanent location for egalitarian prayer, would have granted the non-Orthodox movements and feminist prayer group Women of the Wall a seat at the table in its planning, and somewhat equal public status with a new joint entrance to the renovated prayer pavilions.

Archaeologist Prof. Dan Bahat (courtesy)

“Unfortunately,” said Bahat, the Robinson’s Arch site “has become easy prey for those who decided to make a non-Orthodox prayer plaza.”

Bahat told The Times of Israel that because he is no longer employed by the IAA and doesn’t need the agency for an excavation license, he is able to speak out against what he sees as a destructive, desecration of the hard-won Western Wall archaeology — and the IAA’s role in it. According to a deal reached with the PMO over the planned expansion of the permanent platform, the IAA is deeply involved in the construction project. In February, it began preliminary checks in the area intended as a new, much widened entrance to the planned platform.

The Israel Antiquities Authority, said Bahat, is the body “in charge of guarding all the archaeological sites.”

“This is not protection, it is a desecration of the site,” said Bahat. “The IAA should be on my side not to touch the place. But they are the ones who are undertaking the work of destruction,” he said.

The Davidson Archaeological Park, said Bahat, is “the pearl in the crown” of ancient Jerusalem archaeology. “There is nowhere else where you can so clearly see the results of the 70 CE Roman conquest. What you see today is really how everything ended.”

Jewish tradition states the Second Temple was destroyed because of “sinat chinam” — baseless hatred and infighting among the Jewish people. Today, as the Israeli government pushes forward with a construction plan designed to bridge gaps with Diaspora Jewry, archaeologists fear that the evidence that preserves a previous time of destructive Jewish factionalism is set to be erased from history.

Ahead of Tisha B’Av, the Jewish day of mourning over the destruction of the two Temples, The Times of Israel spoke with archaeologists about what exactly is currently being “destroyed” at the Robinson’s Arch prayer area, and, after getting a glimpse of still unfinalized plans for the new expanded permanent platform, what other evidence of Judaism’s historical past may be “desecrated” — or even potentially better preserved.

What archaeology is there exactly in this crown jewel?

In 1968, head of the Hebrew University Prof. Benjamin Mazar began his large-scale excavation alongside hundreds of workers and volunteers. According to Mazar, remains from as early as the Iron Age and as late as the Arab period have been uncovered at the site.

These were heady times for Israeli archaeology. Yigael Yadin called Mazar’s excavations there “the greatest archaeological enterprise Jerusalem has witnessed.” Numerous questions of Jewish identity and heritage that had been left unsolved began to receive answers.

Herbert W. Armstrong and Prof. Benjamin Mazar present the Jerusalem excavations to the Japanese Ambassador. (courtesy)

One riddle, left over from the campaign of American Bible scholar Edward Robinson was the meaning behind an arch he discovered in 1838 while charting Holy Land sites for his landmark book, “Biblical Researches in Palestine.” Then, the arch jutted out of the wall about a meter above street level and was most used as a bench. Robinson saw it as a clear identifier of the spot of the ancient Jewish Temples.

Robinson writes in “Biblical Researches in Palestine,” “The existence of these remains of the ancient bridge, seems to remove all doubt as to the identity of this part of the enclosure of the mosk with that of the ancient temple. How they can have remained for so many ages unseen or unnoticed by any writer or traveller, is a problem, which I would not undertake fully to solve. One cause has probably been the general oblivion, or want of knowledge, that any such bridge ever existed.”

For years, Robinson and other scholars felt the arch, which springs out from the Western Wall, was used to support a bridge. As he writes in a 1980 Biblical Archaeology Review article, Mazar, however, determined it was indeed part of a support system — but for a monumental stairway.

Reconstruction of ancient Jerusalem’s Keshet Robinson, as found in the Tower of David Museum. (CC-BY-SA Водник at ru.wikipedia)

The staircase led to one of the main entrances to the Temple Mount, originating from the well-preserved Herodian road that visitors can still walk on today, and was supported by the 17-meter-high Robinson’s Arch. At the southern end of the Temple Mount built on a man-made plateau was a massive, impressive structure called the Royal Stoa.

Jewish pilgrims of all sorts — possibly even Jesus — would have walked these steps supported by Robinson’s Arch to ascend to the Temple.

Among the other early discoveries there, Mazar found a Hebrew inscription in the Western Wall just under Robinson’s Arch reading, “You shall see and your heart shall rejoice. Their bones shall flourish like grass,” which appears to be a paraphrase of Isaiah 66:14: “When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass.”

Mazar, writes granddaughter Dr. Eilat Mazar, today a leading Israeli archaeologist, believed the inscription to have been written by the few Jews who, in Emperor Julian’s day in 363 CE, were briefly allowed back into the city to rebuild the Temple. Others, she writes, tie the inscription to mass burials about a meter and a half below it, which took place in 900 CE.

A 19th century image of Robinson’s Arch. (public domain)

Standing in the Davidson Archaeological Park near the Western Wall today, visitors are struck by the Herodian road, the shops that sold sacrifices to pilgrims on their way to the Temple Mount, and a 1st century CE cornerstone fallen from the wall above inscribed with, “the trumpeting place.” The stone arguably indicates where priests may have sounded the entrance of the Sabbath and holidays during the days of the Second Temple.

What is currently covered up?

Archaeologist Prof. Ronny Reich uncovered the section of the park that is adjacent to the current egalitarian prayer platform in excavations there from 1994 -1996. Reich told The Times of Israel that while the road and other finds are significant, the in-situ rubble of the destroyed massive wall is of unparalleled importance.

“This is the only place where you can touch, experience, become excited by the very impressive stone collapse from the destruction of the Second Temple,” said Reich. He said it has incomparable educational, emotional and historical value that is unmatched by any other in the country.

A family celebrates a bar mitzva at the small egalitarian prayer platform at the Robinson’s Arch, July 2018. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)

When Reich excavated this area of the site, the entire roadway next to the wall was covered by these massive ashlar stones. A portion of these stones, the heaviest of which weighed some 14 tons, were lifted out by a crane, so archaeologists could study the debris from beneath. But a decision was made to merely dig around the section that remains today, and leave a visceral reminder of the wide-spread razing of ancient Jerusalem.

Today, the small 12-meter-wide egalitarian prayer platform in the north corner of the Robinson’s Arch area that is adjacent to the Western Wall covers over a portion of these ancient stones, which are now inaccessible to the public. Visitors on this platform can also see, in a corner adjacent to the wall and the Mughrabi Bridge, a pier that was excavated by Mazar and shows many other deeper courses of the Western Wall. Now it is used as a de facto garbage can.

The second, much larger “temporary” platform erected in 2014 by then-Jerusalem Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett covers much more territory, and therefore more antiquity.

According to Reich, who excavated this area, much of what is covered comes from the Byzantine (Christian Roman) and early Muslim periods, although there is also still some evidence of Second Temple shops similar, but less preserved than what is on display directly under Robinson’s Arch.

A 1st century inscription found in Robinson’s Arch reads, ‘The trumpeting place.’ (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)

In his 1980 aricle, Mazar writes that between the series of arches that supported the staircase were shops of the Lower Market. “We found the remains of these shops as well as some of their contents: stone vessels, weights, pottery and coins,” noting one of Emperor Agrippa I, who ruled from 41–44 CE. “We may assume that the shops served those coming to the Temple, pilgrims in particular.

Is the evidence of destruction being destroyed?

Both Reich and Bahat said that none of the antiquities covered by the prayer platforms have been caused irreparable damage — so far.

At the same time, Bahat called the Ezrat Yisrael platform built by Bennet “ugly,” and that “the dirt underneath is unbelievable.” The construction of the platform is “inserting an artificial element into an archaeological site.”

“It’s as if, suddenly in the middle of Beit Shean, they’ll build a big platform to celebrate [the Moroccan Jewish holiday of] mimuna,” he said, or, at Tel Megiddo “to put up a platform to celebrate Allenby’s victory. Can you imagine such a thing?”

Attorney Amnon Lorch (courtesy)

According to Bahat’s attorney, Amnon Lorch, the former Chairman of the East Jerusalem Development Company, 250,000 visit the archaeological park annually. “Instead of seeing the awesome site that was there until a few years ago, today they see the porch with the umbrellas that looks like an entrance to a swimming pool in the Bahamas. It is a complete desecration of the site.”

For Lorch, the matter is both professional and personal. He worked there as a volunteer in the massive excavations. All the site’s unique archaeological glory will be covered, he said, “because maybe someone will pray there? The fact of the matter is that a few thousand yearly pay there, whereas hundreds of thousands pay tickets into the park. There must be a balance of public interests.”

Lorch’s case targets the IAA, which he claimed was formed as an independent authority to defend the antiquities of the People of Israel. “That’s their job, their mission, their legal obligation,” he said. Instead, “they have bent their head before the politicians at the whim of the prime minister who, after the government froze the decision to build the porch there, gave an order to build it.”

In his case, Lorch references past IAA heads’ statements fending off previously planned construction. Likewise, he claims that the current platforms do not have the required Jerusalem municipality building permits, nor the approval of the recently headline-making ministerial committee on Holy Places, which has yet to sign off on the project.

But more than anything, in speaking with The Times of Israel, Lorch sounded personally betrayed by the government, which is overlooking its heritage and the preservation of it.

“If the Polish would have done a thing like this to Auschwitz, the [Israeli] government and the Jewish people would have gone crazy,” he said. “But here we’re taking the destruction of the Second Temple,” he stopped the sentence there, apparently astounded.

The IAA as ‘protectors’ of Israel’s ancient past

The IAA of yesteryear also used such strong language in fending off the archaeological site from encroaching construction. Today, it takes a much more pragmatic approach.

Attorney Firas Badhe, legal advisor for IAA, spoke with The Times of Israel this week about the Bahat case and evaluated its chances of success as slim. It is not the first time Bahat has petitioned on similar grounds, he said.

A Spanish-speaking teen tour rests on the Robinson’s Arch prayer platform, April 2018. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)

There is no finalized construction plan, said Badhe, and there won’t be one until the IAA is satisfied it can preserve and protect the antiquities there. The IAA is further making sure that the archaeology is as accessible as possible to the public — both what is uncovered now, and what may be revealed in the future.

“If something is found in the [building] process, then the planning must accommodate the new finds,” said Badhe.

A glimpse at an architectural simulation of the provisional plans indicate that the new platform will be much higher than the current one, allowing for much more access to the massive stone rubble from the Temple Mount. Likewise, the platform will basically maintain its size on the portion closest to the Western Wall, and gradually fan out over the now temporary prayer section. There, the plans indicate that it will be slightly more narrow, potentially allowing for visual access to the pilgrimage shops’ remains.

The temporary, larger prayer platform at the Robinson’s Arch, July 2018. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)

Badhe confirmed that the current provisional plan shows more accessibility, but repeatedly emphasized that there will be no final approval until all professional checks, including consultations with archaeologists and engineers are completed.

“We promise more accessibility and promise that the antiquities will not be harmed… We are standing guard,” he said.

Badhe said that many archaeologists are divided over the platform’s construction due to a misunderstanding of the planned work.

“It is a very sensitive place, we are very carefully working towards a solution that will promise preservation and accessibility — and not according to how the petitioners conceive of what will be harmed,” he said.

This construction is where the new, much wider entrance is planned for the renovations and permanent prayer platform at the Robinson’s Arch, July 2018. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)

Archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who has vocally stated her opposition to the construction, when learning that the construction will be much higher than the current platform, cautiously said that it appears the planners are taking the archaeologists’ concerns into account. “The important thing is to expose [the rubble]. Even if they take one more meter and raise the whole section — it is very significant,” she said.

Reich was even more enthusiastic. “If it will be higher, we will get an underground space where visitors can see it [the rubble] exactly as it was. See and touch, without having to crouch down,” he said.

As for the covered pilgrimage shops and some ritual baths which may be inaccessible in the new plan, he said, “It’s all a question of proportion. If there are already shops on one side, will whether there’s another shop or two on the other side change the picture?” he asked.

What’s needed in addressing the the evidence of Second Temple Roman destruction of the capital of the Jewish people, according to Reich, is an agreement that allows parties to overcome their ongoing, factionalizing conflicts and live together in peace.

Wryly using a Latin phrase, Reich said, “Really, it’s a matter of modus vivendi.”

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Prince William visits Western Wall, prays for world peace

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Prince William visits Western Wall, prays for world peace

British royal places note between stones, tours Temple Mount, pays respects at great-grandmother’s grave on Mount of Olives

  • Britain's Prince William touches the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City on June 28, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Menahem KAHANA)
    Britain’s Prince William touches the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 28, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Menahem KAHANA)
  • Britain's Prince William (C-L) walks alongside Western Wall chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch (R) during a visit to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City on June 28, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / Menahem KAHANA)
    Britain’s Prince William (C-L) walks alongside Western Wall chief Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch (R) during a visit to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 28, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / Menahem KAHANA)
  • Britain's Prince William (C), British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (R) and  Western Wall Chief rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch (L) talk during a visit to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City on June 28, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / ABIR SULTAN)
    Britain’s Prince William (C), British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (R) and Western Wall Chief rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch (L) talk during a visit to the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 28, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / ABIR SULTAN)
  • An Israeli policeman stands guard as Britain's Prince William visits the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem's Old City on June 28, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)
    An Israeli policeman stands guard as Britain’s Prince William visits the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 28, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / MENAHEM KAHANA)
  • Britain's Prince William (C) and British Consul General in Jerusalem Phillip Hall (L) talk to a guide in Jerusalem's Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City with the golden dome of the Dome of the Rock mosque on June 28, 2018. The Duke of Cambridge is the first member of the royal family to make an official visit to the Jewish state and the Palestinian territories. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Thomas COEX)
    Britain’s Prince William (C) and British Consul General in Jerusalem Phillip Hall (L) talk to a guide in Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City with the golden dome of the Dome of the Rock mosque on June 28, 2018. The Duke of Cambridge is the first member of the royal family to make an official visit to the Jewish state and the Palestinian territories. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Thomas COEX)
  • Britain's Prince William (L) talks to a guide on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City with the golden dome of the Dome of the Rock on June 28, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Thomas COEX)
    Britain’s Prince William (L) talks to a guide on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City with the golden dome of the Dome of the Rock on June 28, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Thomas COEX)
  • Britain's Prince William visits the grave of his great-grandmother Princess Alice of Battenberg during a visit to the Mary Magdalene Church, in East Jerusalem, on June 28, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Sebastian Scheiner)
    Britain’s Prince William visits the grave of his great-grandmother Princess Alice of Battenberg during a visit to the Mary Magdalene Church, in East Jerusalem, on June 28, 2018 (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Sebastian Scheiner)

Prince William visited Jerusalem’s Western Wall and the Temple Mount on Thursday morning, on the final day of his three-day trip to Israel and the West Bank.

William was joined at the West Wall by the site’s rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitch. After spending several moments alone beside the stones, the prince signed the Wall’s guestbook.

He was accompanied by the site’s rabbi and security guards as he approached the wall. Donning a black skullcap, he placed his right hand on the ancient stones and then, following tradition, slipped a note inside its cracks.

He signed the guestbook with the following passage: “May the God of peace bless this region and all the world with peace.”

“Today we experienced a moment of history which will live long in the memory of Jews around the world,” said the Chief Rabbi of Britain Ephraim Mirvis, who accompanied the prince in his visit. “The Western Wall stands at the epicenter of our faith. To see the future monarch come to pay his respects was a remarkable gesture of friendship and a sign of the duke’s regard for the sanctity of Jerusalem.”

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On the Temple Mount, the prince was allowed to enter the Dome of the Rock, which is generally off limits for non-Muslims.

Crowds of onlookers followed his every move as the prince made his way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre shortly after departing from the Western Wall.

Earlier the prince visited the grave of his great-grandmother Princess Alice of Battenberg on the Mount of Olives. Princess Alice saved a Jewish family during the Holocaust, and was interred in the cemetery in the late 1980s.

The prince stood solemnly by his great-grandmother’s grave, accompanied by a Russian Orthodox clergyman. He was then given several gifts by the clergy, including a bouquet of flowers and a cross. With the homage, William followed in the footsteps of his father Charles, the Prince of Wales, and grandfather Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had also visited Princess Alice’s grave.

The Duke of Cambridge left Israel in the afternoon. His stay was the first-ever official visit by a member of the royal family since the British Mandate ended and the State of Israel was founded in 1948.

The trip took place under a minor cloud of controversy, as Kensington Palace’s official itinerary states that the prince’s visit to Jerusalem’s Old City would take place in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

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عاجل الأمير ويليام في زيارة لمسجد الأقصى

According to a Hadashot TV news report on Wednesday, William also reportedly refused a request for a meeting in the capital with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

Barkat requested a meeting in the city with the royal visitor, who has been staying at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel. However, British Embassy officials reportedly told Barkat the prince would be pleased to meet the mayor at a reception held Tuesday at the British ambassador’s residence in Ramat Gan, but that the prince would not meet with him in Jerusalem.

The prince met at length in Jerusalem on Tuesday with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin. Apparently a meeting by the prince with the mayor in Jerusalem, however, would have implied an unacceptable degree of British recognition of Israeli rights in the city.

Barkat refused the offer and stayed away from Tuesday night’s reception.

On Wednesday, in Ramallah, Prince William told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas he was “glad our two countries work so closely together.”

Israel has opposed any attempts by the Palestinians to gain recognition as a state before a permanent peace deal is signed. Still, the Foreign Ministry chose not to respond to William’s comment.

On Tuesday and Wednesday William toured the Tel Aviv beach, met with Israeli youth and took a stroll down the city’s famed Rothschild Boulevard with Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai.

William told guests at Tuesday’s Ramat Gan reception that Israel is a vibrant country that “thrives on innovation, diversity, talent and excellence,” and said ties were at an all-time high.

Prince William seen with Israeli footvolley players at Frishman beach in Tel Aviv, on June 26, 2018. (Niv Aharonson/POOL)

He also promised Britain’s support in the quest for peace between Israel and its neighbors.

“I know I share a desire with all of you, and with your neighbors, for a just and lasting peace. The United Kingdom stands with you, as we work together for a peaceful and prosperous future,” he said.

William also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem on Tuesday and met there with Holocaust survivors.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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Go To Prayers, Then Go Kill: This Is The Devil’s Way, Not G-d’s

GO TO PRAYERS, THEN GO KILL: THIS IS THE WAY OF THE DEVIL, NOT OF G-D

 

I know that I am not the most intelligent person in the world, but I do always insist that I speak honestly with you. The only agenda that I have with you is for me to be totally honest with you, to never lie to you. Before I write an article to you I always spend quite a bit of time in prayer asking for total guidance in every word that I type to you. Not once in my life have I ever spent time in prayer then when I was finished did I go somewhere and attack another person. Not once have I been in a Church meeting where the one praying, Minister or otherwise, condone or tell those in the prayer group or Congregation to now out outside and attack anyone, never!

 

In August of 2000 my Mom whom I love dearly was killed by a young man who later got a reckless driving ticket, which he did totally deserve as he was driving very reckless. If I had not been a devout Christian, that man would have been dead before that month was out. But as a Christian I was able to forgive him. He did not intend to kill my Mom or anyone else. He was just acting immature, he even had his five-year old son in the pickup with him at the time. If I had killed that driver that little boy would have grown up without a Dad. Sometimes in life things that happen hurt a person a lot, somethings simply anger us to the point of wanting to tear a person’s head off but as a Christian, we are not allowed to follow our carnal thoughts. When we get angry, when we are hurting we all need to go to a quiet place and spend time in prayer with G-d our Creator. For those who are wondering why I am spelling G-d in this article, it is for our Jewish friends for this is a way that they show respect to the Creator of us all.

 

Creator of us all, please think about that for a moment. G-d created every one of us, Jew and Gentile. For those who don’t know, the Biblical word Gentile is everyone who is not of %100 pure Hebrew/Jewish blood. Remember even Jesus and His Apostles plainly said over and over again, to the Jew first, then to the Gentile. We are all able to be saved through the Blood of Christ, before Christ, only the Jewish people could be saved. So, I am a Gentile and almost everyone else on the planet today are also Gentiles. This includes Christians, Muslims, Persians, Buddhist, Hindu’s, and everyone else. Folks we are equals in the sight of G-d and we all have no right to be an aggressor toward another person.

 

Now I am going to talk with you about the issues going on in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and at the Western Wall for a moment. Out side of the Islamic Faith I know of no ‘Place of Prayer’ where the Preacher ‘Iman’ fires up the folks in the pray meeting so once prayers are over to leave the building and to commit acts of violence including killing people! Folks these events going on right now in Jerusalem are Satanic! In the name of G-d, no one is allowed to cause harm to another person! It is very common that when Friday prayers are finished on the Temple Mount the people go to the top of the Western Wall and throw rocks down on the Jewish people below. Today after the Friday prayers there has been huge physical protest that are condoned by Islamic Iman from the Mosque. Folks this is pure evil, G-d has nothing to do with those who are committing these acts of physical aggression. If your Preacher, your Rabbi, or your Iman are telling you to go commit violence, then you are listing to the words of a Demon, not of a servant of G-d!

 

 

Reactions to Trump Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)

 

8 Reactions to Trump Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital: From Biblical Prophecy to ‘Day of Rage’

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(PHOTO: REUTERS/JONATHAN ERNST) U.S. President Donald Trump places a note in the stones of the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem’s Old City on May 22, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement on Wednesday that America is to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has sparked both “day of rage” outcry and praise around the world.

Some have hailed the president for keeping his promise, while others have warned it will obstruct peace efforts in the Middle East.

Trump’s administration has said the move is not intended to come on the side of Israel when it comes to territory dispute with Palestine, with the White House stating that it simply reflects the “fundamental truth” of Jerusalem’s status.

“The president believes this is a recognition of reality,” a White House official told reporters on Tuesday, according to Reuters. “We’re going forward on the basis of a truth that is undeniable. It’s just a fact.”

Some evangelicals have hailed Trump’s decision; many Islamic leaders have condemned it with grave warnings, while church leaders, such as Pope Francis, have expressed concern.

Here are eight reactions from world leaders, organizations, and faith figures.

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“Russia Has Never Denied Israels Rights To Jerusalem, The Temple Mount Or The Western Wall”

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JERUSALEM POST)    (THIS IS A RE-POST FROM 11-06-2016 HAS ANYTHING REALLY CHANGED)

Moscow has never denied Israel’s rights to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall, Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev said in advance of his visit to the Jewish state later this week.

“These rights are clear and it would be absurd to deny them,” he told Channel 2 anchorwoman Yonit Levy.

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He spoke warmly of Russia’s ties with Israel, despite Moscow’s votes against the Jewish state at the United Nations and its delivery of the S-300 missiles to Iran.


Benjamin Netanyahu Dimitry Medvedev. (Photo credit: RIA NOVOSTI / REUTERS)

Levy quizzed him about those controversial issues as well as his support for Syrian President Basher Assad and charges that his country had intervened in the US elections.

How does Russia explain its support of the UNESCO vote “to disregard the historic connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” Levy asked Medvedev.

The issue had been blown out of proportion, he responded speaking in Russian, with a Hebrew translation by Channel 2.

There have been some ten votes by UNESCO Boards and Committees on such Jerusalem resolutions, Medvedev said.

“There is nothing new here,” he said, as he dismissed the significance of UNESCO texts that refer to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name of Al Haram Al Sharif.

“Our country has never denied the rights of Israel or the Jewish people to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount or the Western Wall,” Medvedev said.

“Therefore there is no need to politicize this decision,” Medvedev said, adding that such resolutions, were “not directed against Israel.”

Similarly, he said, there was nothing contradictory in Russia’s sale and shipment of the advanced S-300 advanced surface to air missile defense system to Iran.

Israel had opposed such sales because they significantly upgrade Iran’s ability to defend its nuclear sites against any attacks. It is particularly concerned because it does not believe that the Iran deal, put in place in 2015, will limit Tehran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons.

Medvedev told Channel 2 that prior to the Iran deal, Russia respected the sanctions against Tehran and refrained from delivering the S-300. Now that the deal is in place and the sanctions were lifted, there was no reason not to complete the sale, he said.

Moving over to Syria, he referred to President Bashar Assad as the country’s only legitimate leader and added that Israel’s leadership preferred his rule to the prospect of a divided country under terrorist leadership.

“I know him (Assad) personally. There are those who love him and those who don’t. At present Assad is the only legitimate authority operating in Syria. Any regime change would have to occur legitimately,” Medvedev said.

“I remember that during my meetings with Israeli leaders, they told me they were not completely for Assad, but that there has to be someone in charge of the situation, rather than an uncontrolled break up of the country into enclaves ruled by terrorists,” Medvedev said.

Middle East terrorism, he said, is threatening his country from within.

“There are thousands of Russians fighting on behalf of ISIS and other Islamic Jihadist groups,” Medvedev said. “When they return they are experienced murders and terrorists. After their time fighting in Syria we don’t want them to organize something similar [within Russia],” he said.

Levy asked how the presence of the Russian air force in Syria impacted Israel’s ability to prevent the flow of weapons to Hezbollah.

Medvedev said that it was operating from the assumption that “all sides would not take steps to aggravate the conflict.”

With regard to the United States, he charged that it had not kept its commitments in Syria and that the relationship between Washington and Moscow was at a very low point.

Medvedev chuckled when Levy asked him if Russia had interfered with the US elections.

He quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin, when he stated that “the United States is not a banana republic.”

The US, he said, was a large and strong country and could not be influenced in that way. “It doesn’t matter who will be elected, but what policy they will execute,” he said.

“Its clear [that either candidate] will act in the best national interest of the US,” Medvedev said.

He called Republican candidate Donald Trump brilliant and said he had never met him. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, he said, was professional and known to him from the times he met with her when she was US Secretary of State from 2009-2012.

Russia expects to have a “normal” and “productive” relationship with whichever of the two candidates wins the White House, Medvedev said.

With regard to the Russian initiative to hold a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Presdient Mahmoud Abbas, Medvedev said that Moscow was not looking to replace the United States or anyone else when it comes to the peace process.

On the other hand, he said, there are very discouraging signs with regard to that conflict and there have been no advancements to speak of on the Israeli-Palestinian track over the last few years.

“It’s very sad,” he said.

Ivanka Trump makes ‘deeply meaningful’ visit to Western Wall

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Ivanka Trump makes ‘deeply meaningful’ visit to Western Wall

Ivanka Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visit the Western Wall.

Story highlights

  • Ivanka Trump visited the Western Wall on Monday
  • She is traveling with the President

(CNN) President Donald Trump made history on Monday when he became the first sitting president to visit Jerusalem’s Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism. But the trip was also “deeply meaningful” for daughter Ivanka, who appeared to cry as she visited the wall.

The Western Wall sits in Jerusalem’s Old City, which was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. There are separate areas for men and women’s prayer.
Accompanied by first lady Melania Trump and the Rabbi of the Western Wall’s wife, Yael Rabinovich, Ivanka Trump solemnly placed her hand on the women’s area of the Western Wall for a full minute. She smiled as she walked back toward the women and appeared to wipe away a tear, looking visibly touched by the experience.
“I am grateful to have experienced a deeply meaningful visit to the holiest site of my faith and to leave a private note of prayer,” she posted on social media shortly after the visit.
The President’s eldest daughter converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 wedding to Jared Kushner, and previously visited Jerusalem in 2010. She and her husband are practicing Modern Orthodox Jews.
She has spoken about her faith very rarely.
“We’re pretty observant, more than some, less than others. I just feel like it’s such an intimate thing for us,” she told Vogue in 2015. “It’s been such a great life decision for me. I am very modern, but I’m also a very traditional person, and I think that’s an interesting juxtaposition in how I was raised as well. I really find that with Judaism, it creates an amazing blueprint for family connectivity.”
She also wrote about observing Sabbath from sundown Friday to Saturday night in her book, “Women Who Work.”
“During this time, we disconnect completely — no emails, no TV, no phone calls, no Internet. We enjoy uninterrupted time together and it’s wonderful. In addition to being a sacred part of our religion, we live in such a fast-paced world that it’s enormously important to unplug and devote that time to each other,” she said.
Trump traveled to Saudi Arabia with her father, stepmother, and key advisers. She will also travel with the group to Rome, Italy, later this week.

ISRAEL: Trump makes historic visit to Western Wall

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

Trump makes historic visit to Western Wall

(CNN) President Donald Trump on Monday became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall, one of the holiest sites in Judaism.

Trump, wearing a yarmulke, placed his right hand on the wall and swayed slightly back and forth with his eyes closed. He was flanked by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is Jewish, and Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich.
He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a white folded up note, and placed it into a crack in the wall.
Despite requests from Israeli officials, Trump visited the Western Wall without any Israeli government officials by his side.
The United States does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

So: Ali Khomeini Says Iran Will Set Israel/Jerusalem And The Persian Gulf A Fire?

 

If there is anyone in the whole world that has a bigger ego that Donald Trump it has got to be ‘The Supreme Leader’ of Iran, Mr. Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. Just think of the ego a title like that has to take? I would be embarrassed if for some reason I became known as the supreme ruler of my family Clan, (I am 1/4 Scottish.) To me, when a person has a huge ego, I have always looked at it as a sign of a lack of maturity because it makes a person look quite small. I have learned from Google that in Arabic the word ‘Ayatollah’ means “a sign of Allah.” I have also learned from Google that only the Shiite use this term because it also basically means a “sign or evidence of Allah” and the Sunni (which are about 80% of the Islamic Faith) do not agree with giving this adulation to humans.

 

During this past week there were several headlines in the newspapers and online where Mr. Khomeini said that if Israel messed with Iran that Iran (in other words he himself as he is the Supreme Leader after all and nothing major happens in Iran without his personal approval) would “set Israel and the Persian Gulf a fire.” Now let’s look at a couple of things that is relevant to these statements of his. I do not know how much each readers know about the Middle-East situation and I do not want anyone to think I am talking down to them yet it is important to put in some basic information for those who aren’t up to date on the issues I will be discussing. So, if you already know most of or all of this information please do not take offence because none is meant.

 

Iran is the most powerful of all of the Nations in the Islamic world who believe in the Shiite version of Islam. Saudi Arabia is the most powerful of all of the Sunni Nations, and they hate each other. Being that Sunni Islam is about 4 times larger in population than the Shi’ite, Iran has become very ‘offensive’ with their military and terrorists organizations around the Persian Gulf and the rest of the World. Iran and Saudi Arabia are currently fighting a proxy war in Yemen which is on the southeast border of the Saudi’s. I know that the Shiites and the Sunni hate each other and have since their religion began about 1,400 years ago, yet they both also hate all of us ‘infidels’, meaning everyone who isn’t them. I think that the ones they hate the most are the Jewish people and then the Christian people and then wild dogs, but I am not positive of the exact order of their hate. That is something that may vary with individual Tribes.

 

So, you see, when the Supreme Ruler talks about destroying the Nation of Israel and the Persian Gulf (meaning the Sunni Nations like Saudi Arabia) the whole world needs to pay attention when this Demon talks. Yes I said Demon, would a man of God really wish to kill a billion or more people? So, either he is crazy, or he is infected with a Demon and in case you are wondering, the Bible does plainly back the reality of Demon possession of humans, think of Legion.

 

Now, for those of you whom do not know the Bible Scriptures very well I would like you to read the 24th Chapter of the Book of Matthew please. In the second verse Jesus (Yeshua) as He and His Apostles had just left the Temple in Jerusalem and the Apostles spoke of how beautiful the Temple and the area was, Yeshua (Jesus) told them that  there would be a time when there would not be one stone left upon another in regards to the Temple. In the rest of the chapter the Lord speaks about a time when the “Abomination of Desolation” (v: 15) which is the Antichrist will stand upon the most Holy Place which is upon the Temple Mount, that the end of times are near. Some people think that this ‘sign’ was when the Romans destroyed the Temple in 72 A.D. but there is one thing that they are not realizing about what the Lord said in verse #2, He said not “one stone” shall be left upon another. Today the only thing left of the Temple is the West Wall or as some call it, the Wailing Wall, but think about it, there are many stones one upon another that makes up the Western Wall. Folks, this time is not yet but I do believe that things are getting close. But obviously I do not know for sure as God’s time is not our time. In the Lord’s time it is said that 80 human years is but the ‘blink of the eye’ to God. So when God says something “is near” it can easily be more than one human lifetime.

 

The true believers of Islam know, as do the true believers of Judaism, as do some Christians know that the three religions do not worship the same God. It is more than a name difference, it is a Deity difference folks. Here in the U.S. it seems that most people whether they call themselves Christians or have no belief in any religion tend to think that all religions are worshiping the same God, if you have very much knowledge of the issue, you know that this is not correct. Islam flat-out rejects the concept of the God’s of “The People of The Book.” Those who have spent many years studying these issues and are not believers of Islam know/believe that Allah whom the worshipers of Islam refer to as “God” is not God at all. We believe that the believers of Islam have been totally misled as we believe/know that “Allah” is actually Satan Himself. Now, what is currently upon the Temple Mount? It is a Throne, a temple to Allah! Iran will have nuclear weapons within 10 years, when will they deploy them? Where do you think they will deploy them?

 

Here is my thoughts, I will explain my thoughts to you, what I want you to do is to think about this issue for yourself. Now let us get back to Iran and their ‘Supreme Ruler’ and Iran’s nuclear ambitions. To me, if a person believes that Ali Khomeini only wants nuclear power to help with domestic needs, I honestly believe such a person is delusional. Second, just yesterday he spoke of creating nuclear power for military ships and submarines. Thirdly, there is only one way that Iran could possibly set all of Israel and the Persian Gulf a fire and that is through nuclear bombs. In my beliefs the only way anyone would do such evil is if they are a total Zealot and or Demonically possessed. Who else would be willing to carry through on attacks that would kill a billion plus people? To me this issue describes the egotistical ‘Supreme Ruler’ right down to his toe fungus.

The Temple Mount Is On Israeli Land So Jews, Christians And Muslims Should Be Allowed To Pray There If They Want Too!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF HAARETZ NEWS)

Israeli Ministers Join Call to Permit Jewish Prayer at Temple Mount: ‘Status Quo Discriminates Against Jews’
Ministers and Knesset speaker attend conference on changing status quo at Jerusalem’s most politically sensitive site against backdrop of right-wing pressure on Netanyahu to reverse ban on their visits.

Nir Hasson Nov 07, 2016 5:36 PM

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An ultra-Orthodox man looks at the Western Wall and the wooden ramp leading up to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, December 12, 2011. Ronen Zvulun, Reuters
Israel Police to Netanyahu: Let lawmakers visit Temple Mount again
Record number of Jews visit Temple Mount for holidays
Palestinian envoy: UNESCO vote was about ‘occupation,’ not Temple Mount
Israeli parliament speaker Yuli Edelstein joined three cabinet ministers and three lawmakers for the launch of a new Knesset “Temple Mount Lobby” on Monday during a conference on the prospect of altering the status quo at the Jerusalem holy site.
The session was held against the backdrop of increasing demands by right-wing lawmakers and cabinet ministers for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to end his yearlong ban on their visits to the Temple Mount, who said last month that he would revisit the issue with security officials.
Netanyahu had banned these visits as part of an agreement with Jordan’s King Abdullah in response to the outbreak of a wave of Palestinian attacks a year ago.
The prime minister had also ordered lawmakers to avoid discussing the Temple Mount in an attempt to calm the violence attributed to Palestinian claims that Israel intended to change the status quo and permit Jewish prayer at the site.
Most had kept quiet on the subject for months, until Monday’s event.
“In my opinion, our right to the Temple Mount is unshakable,” said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. “The Temple Mount is the Jewish people’s holiest site. I have said many times, the current status quo at the Temple Mount discriminates against the Jewish people.”
The Temple Mount, holy to Judaism as the site of two ancient temples, is a flash-point of conflict with the Muslim world, which reveres the plaza as the Noble Sanctuary and site of the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock shrine. The area is a frequent source of Israeli, Palestinian tensions and violence.
Since the Six-Day War, Israeli policy has barred Jewish prayer at the site while permitting worship at the Western Wall below.

Palestinian protesters react during clashes on the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City September 6, 2013. Ammar Awad, Reuters
Monday’s Conference of Zion Seekers was the 10th annual such meeting but the first to be held at the Knesset. The event fell on the anniversary of the Jewish sage Rambam’s visit and prayer at the Temple Mount 850 years ago. It was organized by Yehudah Glick, a veteran activist for greater Jewish access and prayer rights at the site.
Glick was shot and seriously wounded by a Palestinian assailant as he exited the same conference two years ago in Jerusalem.
Temple Mount activists said on Sunday that the past year has seen a rise in the numbers of Jews ascending to the Mount – over 14,000, compared to 11,000 the previous year.
Environmental Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin applauded the Temple Mount advocacy groups, adding that “often you are doing the work that the government doesn’t do.”
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel called on Netanyahu renew permits for Knesset members and cabinet ministers to visit the Temple Mount. He said Israeli security officials supported this demand, “but unfortunately the prime minister’s advisers and he himself unjustifiably prevent this from happening.”
Ariel said that the Mount must be opened to the Jewish people, adding, “enough of the shame.”
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan demanded the publication of rules he conceived when he was Deputy Religious Services Minister to arrange for Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount.
“The Temple Mount is a place where members of other faiths may visit, but only those of the Jewish faith are denied prayer at the Temple Mount,” he said. “We must not agree to this shame. We have to call upon the government and Knesset to permit Jewish prayer, to make Jewish prayer something normal and permitted.”
The founder of the Return to the Mount movement, Rafael Morris, stated: “When we can say the Temple Mount is ours and only ours and there isn’t room there for anyone else, then we can be victorious in Amona, then we can conquer not only the Temple Mount but Jordan, and Syria, too, and establish a real Jewish state over all the land of Israel.”
Erdan’s appointment as Public Security Minister marked a turning point in police handling of Jews seeking to visit the Temple Mount.
Activists said that conditions for these visits have grown more flexible in recent months and restrictions against prayer are enforced less strictly than in the past.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.751583

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