Western Wall Signs Stress Jewish Connection To Temple Mount

Several large signs have been affixed near the entrances to Jerusalem's Western Wall plaza, expressing the centrality of the Temple Mount to Judaism and the Jewish People.

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Several large signs have been affixed near the entrances to Jerusalem's Western Wall plaza. In addition to the usual guidelines regarding modesty and respect for the sanctity of the holy site, the centrality of the Temple Mount to Judaism and the Jewish people is clearly expressed.

The signs, ten feet tall, read:
"Jewish tradition teaches that the Temple Mount is the focal point of Creation. In the center of the mountain lies the 'Foundation Stone' of the world. Here Adam came into being. Here Abraham, Isaac and Jacob served G-d. The First and Second Temples were built upon this mountain. The Ark of the Covenant was set upon the Foundation Stone itself. Jerusalem was chosen by G-d as the dwelling place of the Divine Presence. David longed to build the Temple, and Solomon his son built the First Temple here about 3,000 years ago. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The Second Temple was rebuilt on its ruins 70 years later. It was razed by the Roman legions over 1,900 years ago. The present Western Wall before you is a remnant of the western Temple Mount retaining walls. Jews have prayed in its shadow for hundreds of years, an expression of their faith in the rebuilding of the Temple. The Sages said about it: 'The Divine Presence never moves from the Western Wall.' The Temple Mount continues to be the focus of prayers for Jews all over the world."

The signs were placed following two and a half years of violence and terrorism that largely center around the issue of the Temple Mount. The Arabs have dubbed the bloody terrorist war the 'Al Aqsa Intifada,' referring to the Al-Aqsa mosque that today stands atop the Temple Mount. The Muslim Wakf (religious authorities) have, over the past decade, engaged in a systematic effort to rid the Temple Mount of all evidence of the first and second Jewish Temples. Many PA officials insist that there is no Jewish connection to the site.

To add insult to injury, Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount before he became Prime Minister has been used by the Palestinian Authority to justify the outbreak of terrorism, claiming that the visit by a Jewish leader to a holy Jewish site was a "provocation." A leading PA official, Imad Faluji, later was among those who put the lie to this claim, admitting in the Ein Hilwe refugee camp in Lebanon on March 2, 2001, that "[the violence] had been planned since Chairman Arafat's return from Camp David."

The new bilingual signs also inform worshippers that begging is forbidden, and instead encourage contributions toward the site's upkeep instead. They forbid smoking and photography on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, and ask that people turn off their cellular phones and refrain from loud talking during prayers.

"There is a wide perception that the Western Wall is Judaism's holiest site," explained Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, Rabbi of the Western Wall and Jewish Holy Sites. "We felt it was critical to install the new signs in order to remind and educate visitors that the holiness of the Wall is derived exclusively from the fact that it is a remnant of the Temple Mount - which is truly the Jewish people's holiest site."





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