Rabbi: Gov't Trying to Ban Jews from David's Tomb

According to activist, seats and tables at the Tomb of King David were removed – as part of a plan to discourage Jews from praying there.

Yaakov Levi,

Wordshipper prays at King David's Tomb
Wordshipper prays at King David's Tomb
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

While thousands of Jews visited the Tomb of King David on Mt. Zion over the Sukkot holiday, many of them had no place to sit while saying Psalms (tehillim), the prayers written by King David himself. That's because, according to Rabbi Yaakov Silviya, an activist who is involved in the struggle over the fate of the site, the seats and tables that have been there in the past to accommodate Jewish worshippers were removed – as part of what he believes is a plan to discourage Jews from praying there.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva, Silviya described the mixed feelings of those who arrived to pray at the site.

The holiday was “one of joy and sadness – joy over the many people who came to visit, but sadness over what we feel is the attempt to keep us away from here. Meanwhile, hundreds of Christian tour buses come here daily, and you can see how they are treated so much better than Jewish visitors are.

The discrimination, he said, just confirms suspicions among many Jews that the Israeli government has secretly entered into a deal with the Vatican to relinquish Israeli control of the site to Catholic groups. King David's Tomb is located just outside the walls of the Old City in the Mount Zion area.

The specific area in question is referred to by Christians as the Last Supper Room, a small room on the second floor of a larger area that houses the King David's Tomb prayer space, the Diaspora Yeshiva, Israel's first Holocaust Museum, the President's room and other historic sites. Catholic officials have demanded that Israel turn over the site to them, because of its significance for the Church. The government said it has resisted the pressure to do so, but activists believe that de facto, Israel has already ceded control of the site to the Vatican.

According to Rabbi Silviya, “it is clear to anyone that there is a war going on” for control of the site. “Everyone, including archaeologists, agree that this is where King David is buried. We know there is a staircase here going down to a burial chamber where David and other kings of Judea are resting. We also know that people who have tried to go down there to take the treasures there did not return.”

As someone who is at the site on a regular basis, Rabbi Silviya said that he has heard many stories of miracles of people whose prayers were answered after praying there. It would be a great loss, he added, if Jews were to lose free access to the site.