SPEAKING OF IN POOR TASTE:
'Allah' inscribed on Temple Mount Wall
By ETGAR LEFKOVITS (Jerusalem Post)
The word "Allah" in Arabic was found hewn into the eastern wall of Jerusalem's Temple Mount, in one of the worst acts of vandalism at the history-rich site in the last several years, archaeologists and eyewitnesses said Wednesday.
I can think of more offensive graffiti than the name of God, but in the context of defacing an historic site the act is very disrespectful to both Judaism and Islam.
The letters, incidentally, are half a meter high
UPDATE: Jim West
thinks the photograph is a forgery:
Maybe i'm just skeptical of any reports of inscriptions and the like but it looks like a fake photo to me. The letters are above the surface of the stone- and yet the stone is level with the stones surrounding it. Now exactly how is that possible? If the letters had been carved in such a way that the surrounding stone were removed, then you would think that there would be a noticeable difference in the surface level of that stone and those surrounding it. Further, the lines of the "inscription" are strangely perfect. In all honesty it looks to me like a photo has been doctored to look like something has been written on it. If readers are aware of how a stone can be carved in such a way that the surface is unaffected while letters are raised in the center, I would love to hear.
It does look funny. The only way I can see to carve the inscription would be to chisel away all the surrounding material on that stone, yet as Jim says, it doesn't look deeper than the surrounding stones (although it's hard to tell for sure) and I don't see chisel marks or a surface pattern that looks different from the other stones. The stone of the inscription is the right color but it looks polished -- the surface is quite different from any other stone surface visible. But it melds into the surrounding stone and the shadows are just right if the sun is shining above and to the left, which fits all the other shadows in the picture.
I can't imagine that both the Jerusalem Post
would run the story or that Eilat Mazar would comment on it without checking the stone in person. Moreover, the photographer, Ariel Jerozolimski, does lots of work for the Jerusalem Post
and has more than 100 Google entries.
Could it be that material (plaster?) dyed the same color as the wall has been pressed in a mold against the stone until it bonded to it?
If any reader in Jerusalem has seen the graffito or can go look at it, I would be grateful for a report.
UPDATE: Yes, the Brian
connection occurred to me too.
UPDATE (31 March): Stephen Carlson has a theory