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Jews Protest at King David's Tomb Over Christian Prayers

MK Moshe Feiglin leads prayer protest after reports surface that weekly Mass has begun at Jewish holy site.
By AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 6/9/2014, 8:08 PM

Scenes from protests against David's Tomb transfer to the Vatican
Scenes from protests against David's Tomb transfer to the Vatican
Flash90

Several dozen Jews gathered Monday at King David's Tomb Monday to protest against Christian pilgrims praying there for Pentecost, a police spokeswoman said.

"Around 30 Jewish faithful gathered to pray in the presence of (Likud) MK Moshe Feiglin," Luba Samri told AFP.

An AFP photographer said Christian pilgrims and tourists were kept by police in one part of the compound as the Jews danced and prayed in protest.

"The Christians prayed at the tomb of King David, and for us this is blasphemy," one of the Jewish protesters, Shaga Brand, told AFP about Christian prayers there on Sunday, calling it a "provocation".

The Jewish protestors also hung placards in the nave accusing the government of lying by saying the Cenacle's status quo would remain unchanged and under Israeli authority.

Controversy continues to reign over whether or not Israel has plans to transfer full control of the site to the Vatican. 

Israeli officials have continuously denied an upcoming deal. The Minister of Public Security, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi and Israel's Ambassador to the Vatican have all denied the reports, which have claimed that there a secret deal between the Vatican and Israel on the issue.

Under Israeli law, Christians are allowed to pray there twice a year, prompting efforts by the Vatican to negotiate greater access rights to what is one of the most sacred sites in Christendom.

But on Monday, witnesses revealed to Arutz Sheva that the status quo had changed - with Christians flooding the site for Mass in what is now a weekly service. 

It should be noted 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, told 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.

Rabbi Dvir Tal, dean of the King David Yeshiva, reports that during the Mass service on Sunday, incense was burned, the scent of which spread throughout the Compound, engulfing the Tomb of King David on the ground floor as well. Christian visitors brought massive crosses to the prayers, and placed them in the "Room of the Last Supper" for the service.

Additional testimony was given to Arutz Sheva by Rabbi Yaakov Sevilia, an activist for King David's Tomb. Rabbi Sevilia reported that lit candles were placed in the floor of the room in the shape of a cross.

"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.