Wednesday, February 10, 2016

More archaeologists object to Western Wall compromise

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Archaeologists: New Western Wall prayer site will damage antiquities. Signatories to letter of protest warn of harm to ‘diamond in Jerusalem’s archaeological crown’ due to planned site for mixed-gender worship (Times of Israel).
Creating a new plaza at the Western Wall will damage “the most important archaeological site for the Jewish people,” nine senior Israeli archaeologists warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, days after plans for a multi-denominational site were announced.

The “diamond in Jerusalem’s archaeological crown” must not be harmed accommodate the needs of various Jewish religious streams, they wrote, Israel Radio reported.

The protest drives another spoke into the wheel of the plan to expand an existing area south of the main Western Wall prayer site by creating a plaza over ruins from the Temple in an area known as Robinson’s Arch.

Signatories to the protest letter include Dan Bahat, who excavated the Western Wall tunnels; Ronny Reich, head of the Archaeological Council of Israel, who exposed part of the paved road beneath Robinson’s Arch; Jerusalem Prize winner Gabriel Barkay, who directs the Temple Mount Sifting Project; and Israel Prize laureate Amihai Mazar.

Eilat Mazar has also objected to the plan on archaeological grounds. The article does not say whether she was one of the nine signatories.

Background here and here.