'We cannot let the Kotel turn into a place symbolizing division'

President Reuven Rivlin held his traditional day of learning before the 9th of Av, and called for the Kotel to be a place of Jewish unity.

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Tzvi Lev,

The day of learning at the Presidents house
The day of learning at the Presidents house
Hezi Baruch

Israel President Reuven Rivlin held the traditional ninth of Av day of learning at the President's Residence, calling on the Kotel to be a place of unity, as opposed to scenes of division that have recently made headlines.

In his opening remarks, Rivlin asked: "It is clear how significant the destruction of the Temple was, but what is the meaning of the famous phrase "the city was plowed?" Rivlin answered that " the Romans also plowed the city so that the land and the government would not arise again. [It was not only an] expulsion, but a real erasure of history."

"What is the difference between the Jews of the time in the destruction of the Temple and the Jews of today who are happy and celebrate the city's independence? What is our connection to mourning and the loss of independence? The question has been asked for many years." continued Rivlin.

"Unfortunately, our daily reality in Israel answers the answer," added Rivlin. "The Romans destroyed the Temple and [part of] the Western Wall, which became a religious symbol and later became a political symbol, has become a symbol of our struggle against the Temple Mount and the attempt to sever and erase our history.

"The destruction and exiles have weakened us, and we have no quarrels within the Beit Midrash and outside, and yet you all came here today and I thank you for your courage," Rivlin said.

Rivlin referred to the recent controversy over the government freezing of the Kotel Compromise, which would have made a joint entrance to all prayer areas of the Wall and expanded the "Ezrat Yisrael" prayer pavilion on the southern part of the kotel which has already been set aside and paved for Reform and Conservative prayer, but remains mostly empty. The Reform and Conservative streams had also wanted to be part of the committee administrating the Kotel.

The learning session was held in conjunction with representatives of the Jewish People Policy Institute and the Jewish Agency, and had representatives present from all the different streams of Judaism.



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