King David's Tomb
King David's Tomb Hadas Parush/Flash 90

The threat of King David's Tomb in Jerusalem being turned into a place of Christian worship thereby preventing Jews from entering it according to Jewish law continues, with an upcoming Christian religious service planned at the site.

Yehuda Puah, a member of the Headquarters to Save David's Tomb, told Arutz Sheva about the information his group has obtained regarding the planned prayer service.

According to the information, next Sunday and Monday Greek Orthodox prayers for their Pentecost holiday are to be held including Mass prayers at David's Tomb. However, this time Puah says the service won't take place only in the upper chamber where Christians believe the "Last Supper" occurred, but rather in the lower chamber where the marker for King David's Tomb is.

The services are likely to include ritual incense, as well as placing massive crosses at the site according to past incidents, says Puah.

In order to counter the plans to change the religious status quo at the holy site, Puah reported that members of his group are enlisting Jews from Jerusalem and around the country to come for prayers and study at the marker of David's Tomb.

A significant Jewish presence can prevent the Christian worshipers from carrying out their plans to pray at the site according to Puah, who notes that the Christians have not shown signs of wanting a direct confrontation.

Puah pointed out that due to Arutz Sheva's publication of the Christian prayer services planned for the Catholic Pentecost last Sunday, which overlapped with the Jewish holiday of Shavuot from which Pentecost is derived, the Christian visitors arrived without wearing the attire of the clergy, apparently to avoid conflict.

"The police help them"

He reported that non-Jews who visit the Tomb Compound normally come as tourists and not as members of the Christian clergy. In rare cases when they try to hold religious ceremonies the police and Interior Ministry have been able to prevent the moves, given that Israeli law protects the status quo of holy sites.

However, in the planned ceremony next Sunday and Monday the concern is that the Christians will request to hold their service and cause the site to be cleared of Jewish visitors coming to pray at David's Tomb.

"The police help them with this," Puah said citing past experiences. "Generally they come suddenly with no warning and there are 20 or 30 people, and when the officers come they aren't prepared for a struggle and leave. Last time there were two to three women who refused to leave and they were removed by force. This year many will come and that won't happen."

According to him Jewish presence at the site is critical in order to counter the Christian theological claim that views Christianity as a continuation and replacement of Judaism - a view which Islam also shares, regarding both Christianity and Judaism.

"Things are measured in David's Tomb, in our submission and conceding of the site, and giving over the site which serves and symbolizes that the Jews gave up and the Christians continue," he warned. "Therefore it's important to bring our full weight and not to allow it."

As for the possibility that the ceremonies on Sunday and Monday may lead to violence, Puah said he doesn't think such a prospect has any chance of happening. In his estimation the police will do all they can to have the incident pass quietly.

Members of the Headquarters to Save David's Tomb will arrive with cameras Puah said, adding, "we will stand firm and seriously and things will end well. The Christians will understand that they don't want a clash or pictures or unpleasantness and that's how things will end."