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Western Wall

  • Women of the Wall victory can teach us a few things

    If we succeeded at pushing the government to find a solution on a matter as sensitive as the Western Wall, then we can also push Israel's leadership — from a perspective of self interest — to make other, equally positive decisions. By Batya Kallus Last Sunday, following a 27-year struggle by Women of the Wall, the Israeli government approved a plan to create a new pluralistic, egalitarian and feminist plaza alongside the ultra-Orthodox prayer plaza at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. This is first and foremost a victory for Jewish feminists. But imagine — a group of Jewish religious women…

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  • What the 1929 Palestine riots teach us about today's violence

    They began with clashes around the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, continued with mutual arson and stabbing attacks, and ended in a massacre. And even then we continued living together.  By Hillel Cohen (translated from Hebrew by Sol Salbe) The recent events in Jerusalem are reminding some people of the summer of 1929. The parallels are uncanny: a struggle to extend praying rights for Jews at the Temple Mount; rising tensions; hateful language; a meager few voices trying to restore calm only to be denounced as traitors; blood in the streets. And more blood. And more. Among the killings there is a…

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  • Why one Jerusalem street has seen so many stabbings

    For Israel and settler organizations, creating a Jewish identity and presence on the access road to the Western Wall is crucial. Palestinians, on the other hand, view it as a dangerous provocation. By Yonathan Mizrachi The many stabbings in Jerusalem's Old City in recent weeks have taken place in one precise location: Ha-Gai Street, or Al-Wad Street in Arabic. While the walled city is relatively small, it is interesting to note why the political and violent struggle over Jerusalem focalizes on its most heavily guarded street. [tmwinpost] Damascus Gate is located on the Old City's northern wall, and is the…

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  • PHOTOS: Snow on Jerusalem's holy and unholy monuments

    Snow blankets Jerusalem and the hilly West Bank late Thursday and Friday, shutting down roads and highways, covering holy sites and the separation wall alike. In Gaza, heavy rain causes flooding in the war-torn Strip.   Related: The storm that only affects Jews PHOTOS: Denied services, Palestinian residents form emergency response team

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  • The Davidization of Jerusalem: On the politics of symbols

    It's no coincidence that images of the Tower of David are popping up everywhere in the holy city: right-wing settlers and real estate moguls alike have been using the symbol to gain power. By Dana Hercbergs Like mushrooms after the rain, the Tower of David seems to be popping up in new places in Jerusalem. Its appearance on phone books, municipal pamphlets, and items like sugar packets and votive candles strikes me as a phenomenon of the last few years, having lived in Jerusalem off and on since 2007. Local friends do not seem to think much of it, claiming that…

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  • The Beaten Path: The Western Wall as military parade grounds (part 2)

    It's still beautiful and moving, but recent decades have done something strange to the 'Kotel,' our first stop along the deconstructed tourist trail. What happens when a site is the object of both religious longing and military identity? Read part one of The Beaten Path, 'An introduction, or how to ruin a good story' There are so many advantages to not being a tourist. For one, I know the best way to get to Jerusalem from Tel-Aviv. Busses only reach the main terminal, which is located on the western outskirts of town and requires a further trip by the light rail.…

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  • The illusion of religious freedom in Jerusalem

    Official Israel loves to boast of the complete freedom of worship it grants to members of all religions. In reality, however, it’s just another deception brought to you by your local 'hasbara' dealer. By Orly Noy One of the main tools in the Israeli hasbara toolbox is the ‘religious freedom’ discourse. As subscribers of the “villa in the jungle” worldview, Israel advocates never miss an opportunity to emphasize the religious freedoms that Israel supposedly gives to believers of all faiths, unlike its Arab neighbors. Prime Minister Netanyahu, especially, loves to make this claim -- and he repeats it ad nauseam.…

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  • Disturbing the 'peace' in Jerusalem's holiest site

    The past 15 years have seen a revival of Jewish extremist movements seeking to upend the status quo around the Temple Mount in the name of multicultural ideals. Betty Herschman says failing to see through this veneer could lead to the enflaming of one of the world’s most combustible hotspots. By Betty Herschman The current intensification of religious extremist activities on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is not a new phenomenon, but rather the ultimate realization of a slow, decades-long crusade. The story behind today’s mounting pressures - from increased attempts to ascend and pray on the Mount to legislative challenges to…

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  • Resource: Undermining the status quo at the Temple Mount

    The Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif is one of the most complicated and sensitive issues on Israel’s agenda, activating friction points between Israel and the Palestinian population, and the Arab world at large. Over the past several hundred years, a status quo has been maintained according to which the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif area is an area reserved for Muslim prayer and the Western Wall is a prayer area reserved for Jews. Over the last decade, the status of these areas has gradually shifted, driven by a revival of activity by Jews determined to strengthen the status of the Temple Mount complex as a…

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  • 'Why I cannot stand with Women of the Wall'

    Nothing in Israel, or in the Middle East, is disconnected from anything else. Yet the issue of women’s religious access to the Kotel is treated, especially in North America, as if it exists in a vacuum. By Aryeh Cohen The story of Women of the Wall begins with the Wall. The story of the contemporary Wall begins with the Six-Day War in June of 1967. It begins not on June 7, when the Old City was captured and David Rubinger took his iconic photograph of three battle-weary Israeli soldiers standing in front of the Wall, nor even when the paratroopers’…

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  • Supporting roles: Men stand in solidarity with Women of the Wall

    While the running debate at the Western Wall has been over women’s prayer, Jewish men have been playing a supporting role in shifting 'local custom.' Women of the Wall may be exactly what their name implies: women. But standing and praying in solidarity with them this month were several dozen Jewish men. In between police barricades and the familiar fence enclosing the women's prayer area at the Western Wall Plaza, were about 30 Jewish men – Israel-born, immigrants, secular, Reform and Conservative, young and old. They came out to support approximately 300 Jewish women – many in religious garments traditionally…

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  • WATCH: Thousands of ultra-Orthodox protest women's prayer at Western Wall

    For the first time in 24 years, Israel Police protected nearly 500 Women of the Wall members Friday morning as they gathered at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem for their monthly prayer service. The women were confronted by thousands of ultra-Orthodox protesters, both young girls who watched from the side and men of all ages, who acted violently towards the group of women. Protesters reportedly threw stones, water bottlers, garbage and whatever else they could in their direction, and a few were reportedly arrested. The police managed to enable a small group of 20-30 women to actually reach the women's section…

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  • MKs join hundreds of women praying at Western Wall, defying law

    Hundreds of women - including MKs Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), Stav Shaffir (Labor) and Michal Rozin (Meretz) -  gathered at Jerusalem's Western Wall in honor of Rosh Hodesh (first of the Hebrew calendar month, today, Nissan) Tuesday morning. They joined the usual group of women from the Women of the Wall movement, who go every month at 7 a.m. to pray there on the other side of the barricade separating them from the men - but are often harassed and prevented from doing so - and even at times, arrested. According to the regulations at the Western Wall, as determined by its chief rabbi, and…

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