Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The IAA responds to Mazar

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Prominent archaeologist claims Western Wall construction will cause irreparable damage. Less than 48 hours after cabinet approved historic overhaul for a gender-neutral prayer space, Hebrew University professor says construction will “absolutely ruin the site” (DANIEL K. EISENBUD, Jerusalem Post).
The significant upgrade to the Western Wall’s controversial egalitarian prayer section at Robinson’s Gate will ruin Judaism’s “jewel of archeology,” an internationally recognized archeologist from the Hebrew University contended Tuesday.

Less than 48 hours after the cabinet approved a historic overhaul for the gender-neutral prayer space, Dr. Eilat Mazar, of HU’s Institute of Archeology, said the construction will “absolutely ruin the site” by turning an irreplaceable archeological landmark into a religious site.

Her objections were covered in yesterday's post, but this article goes into somewhat more detail. And it includes this new information:
Despite Mazar’s scathing rebuke of the project, the Israel Antiquities Authority, which approved and will oversee the expansion, issued a brief statement saying it stands by its position, claiming the construction and resulting changes will be “minor.”

“In reaching the agreement, the IAA demanded measures to continue to maintain the character of the archeological surroundings,” it said.

Meanwhile, the left-wing NGO Emek Shaveh echoed Mazar’s concerns and further condemned the construction as an egregious violation of the Old City’s delicate status quo.

We'll see what happens.