Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Women at the Wall

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: I haven't been covering the movement to allow women to pray at the Western Wall and the attending controversy, since I didn't see a direct archaeological angle. But now Nir Hasson explores this aspect in Haaretz.
Sharansky's solution for the Wall will ruin the country's archaeological treasure, Israeli scholars fear
The 'Sharansky plan’ for a new worship space, near Robinson’s Arch, has raised the ire of local archaeologists and blurred the definition of 'sacred.’

By Nir Hasson | May.14, 2013 | 1:02 PM

The Jerusalem Archaeological Park and Davidson Center, located south of the Western Wall, is widely considered the most important archaeological site in the country − the site which perhaps best embodies the destruction of the Temple. Enormous stones that formed the upper tiers of this wall prior to the destruction lie on top of each other in a tall heap. Above them are remnants of Robinson’s Arch, the largest stone overpass in the ancient world, which led to the Temple Mount. Not far from there are the remnants of the Umayyad palaces, immense structures built by the rulers of that dynasty in the early Muslim period, some 1,300 years ago.

This park area has now come under threat due to Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky’s plan to create an additional prayer area there for the Western Wall. According to details that Haaretz has obtained, the plan calls for the erection of an enormous wooden deck that would cover 500 square meters and be suspended seven to eight meters off the ground by steel beams to create an additional space for worship.

A long article discussing many aspects of a complicated issue. I'm sure this will not be the last word on it.