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King David's Tomb Room 'Conquered' by the Church

Mass services held again at David's Tomb Compound, this time at the room with his 'grave marker'.
By Shimon Cohen, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 6/9/2014, 3:03 PM

After Mass services at David's Tomb
After Mass services at David's Tomb
Rabbanit Yocheved Grossman

In further proof of the fixed nature of Christian Mass services being imposed on the David's Tomb Compound, services which were filmed on Sunday, it now turns out that Mass was held again on Monday morning - this time in the very room where King David's Tomb is said to be located.

Rabbanit Yocheved Grossman, a lead activist for King David's Tomb, reported to Arutz Sheva that numerous priests and monks held Mass services in the room of King David's grave marker.

Unlike the prayers on Sunday, which were held in the "Room of the Last Supper" on the second floor of the Compound, this time prayers were reportedly held in the very room of David's Tomb, a site that has been under Jewish control.

The Mass prayers were accompanied by police and Yassam special forces, and took place after all Jews were evicted from the holy site by Israeli police.

It is worth noting that the institution of regular Catholic prayers at the site constitute a severe breach of Jewish prayer rights. Rabbi Avraham Goldstein, dean of the Diaspora Yeshiva located in the Compound, warned Arutz Sheva in May that Jews will be prevented from entering the holy site altogether due to the Mass services, given that Jewish law forbids using a building used for idol-worship - a category which Catholic worship, with its use of effigies, falls under according to Jewish law.

"No entry for Jews"

Rabbanit Grossman related that as is her usual morning custom, she arrived with dozens of female Jewish visitors to pray at David's Tomb on Monday. Slightly before 9 a.m., a police officer wearing a kippah entered and asked all worshipers to leave.

In response to the rabbanit's questioning, the officer refused to give a direct reason for the order, but simply repeated his demands, saying "there's an event here."

The rabbanit reports that she and the other worshipers felt a sense of shock at the idea that they might be being forced out to give way to Christian prayer in the hall of David's Tomb.

After asking the officer whether her suspicions were correct and there were plans to hold Mass services, she notes "the officer stuttered yes. He was in embarrassment. I asked him to let us sanctify the site by saying Psalms, but there was no choice and we were forced to leave."

In leaving the room, the Jewish visitors were shocked to find a long convoy of dozens of priests and monks making their way from the adjacent thicket, past the nearby restroom area and into the very hall of David's Tomb.

Rabbanit Grossman reports a great sense of pain hearing the chants of Catholic prayer by the visitors as they bore a massive wooden cross into the site, banging their crosses on the ground and spreading incense throughout the Compound.

"We couldn't take smelling it," the rabbanit said, recounting how she and the other Jewish visitors realized it was pointless to clash with the police, and that they were powerless, left watching the scene.

"I asked forgiveness from King David that I left. In that room there are holy texts, not long ago we dedicated (lit. brought in) a new Torah scroll, and now they're bringing in the Christians to pray there? They're bringing in a cross into the hall," said the shocked rabbanit.



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Mass at King David's Tomb Courtesy of Rabbanit Yocheved Grossman

Protesting in prayer

Today (Monday) at 3 p.m. a protest prayer is set to be held on site in response to the Mass prayers that were held on Sunday. Given the latest developments, it appears that the Monday Mass will be the main focus of protest.

"Thousands of Jews need to come here and cry, to say we have no part or portion in this thing. All of the people of Israel need to come and to protest," stated the rabbanit.

Rabbanit Grossman added that right before they were forced out of the Tomb, a group of dozens of Jewish students from a secular school were barred from entering the site.

"The Christians are currently in control of 60% of the Compound, and now they want to control the small amount that's in our hands," noted Rabbanit Grossman.

"Idol-worship" in King David's Tomb

The latest events corroborate the evidence supplied by Rabbi Dvir Tal, dean of the King David Yeshiva, which is attached to the Diaspora Yeshiva located in the complex. The rabbi told Arutz Sheva about the Sunday Mass, and reported Mass has been held weekly at the Compound since Pope Francis conducted Mass at the site two weeks ago on Monday.

Rabbi Tal argued that from his interactions with the police, he was given the impression that the site was being handed over to the pope in a gesture following his visit to Israel. He noted that up until now, Mass was only held in the "Room of the Last Supper" once or twice a year.

"There's a great pain here; it is hard to describe the depth of our frustration over the reality in which right above the Tomb of King David - David who every Jew is connected to and who the full redemption is dependent upon - they let idol-worship happen, which is more severe than murder and sexual indecency," said Rabbi Tal, noting Jewish law's position on the three cardinal sins.