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An Education Ministry '60th Anniversary of Israel' poster features a non-existent Christian church over the Western Wall.

The poster, distributed to all schools across the country, features eight symbols portraying important aspects of the State of Israel: The Declaration of Independence flanked by the country's official flag and emblem; photos of the Knesset, government complex and Supreme Court, representing the government's three branches; a satellite photo of the entire country; and a large photograph of the Western Wall (the Kotel). 

This last, however, is marred by technological manipulation in two ways. In addition to the golden Dome of the Rock towering over the Kotel, the minaret of another Moslem mosque is shown above the Wall - despite the fact that in reality it is much further to the north and out of sight of Jews at the Wall.  Secondly, a church spire has been placed to the right of the minaret and above the Kotel - when in fact no such church is located in the vicinity.

The photo thus creates the effect of a Jerusalem belonging jointly to three religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

An Attempt to Internationalize Jerusalem

Jerusalem City Councilman David Hadari (National Religious Party) refuses to take it lying down. In an urgent letter to Education Minister Yuli Tamir and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Hadari wrote, "This is clearly not a simple mistake, and certainly was not done innocently.  The distortion of reality and the misuse of photos to transmit a message implying the internationalization of Jerusalem is an act that abusively tramples the status of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish Nation in the State of Israel."

Hadari demands that all the schools be instructed to remove the poster, and that the Education Ministry send another one in its stead "that will accurately and fairly reflect the true reality."

Temple Institute Speaks Out

The Temple Institute is also up in arms. Director Yehuda Glick told the NRG website, "It is regrettable that those in charge of the education of our children... are ashamed of the Jewish roots of Jerusalem.  The Jewish People is the only nation that prays towards Jerusalem and its holy sites, and is the only one that longs for its rebuilding; the attempts to distort this will not change history."

Glick compared the "adjusted" poster to an imaginary Education Ministry poster depicting the Supreme Court towered over by the Vatican and a Moslem religious court, or to a photograph of Mt. Herzl surrounded by the graves of George Habash and Stalin, "in the interests of making a gesture to the brotherhood of nations."

Education Ministry Responds

The Education Ministry explained in response that "in order to express in a pictorial manner the fact that Israel's capital Jerusalem is sacred to the three religions, a Jerusalem church spire was incorporated into the photograph.  This was an act of graphic design whose purpose was to concretize this matter."