Thursday, April 21, 2016

More fallout from that UNESCO resolution

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: UNESCO Director Distances Herself From Temple Mount Decision. Irena Bokova distances herself from UNESCO statement disregarding Temple Mount religious significance for Jews. 'This decision was made by UNESCO management, not me' (Yoav Karny, Haaretz). That is perhaps a prudent move. Excerpt:
Bokova said in her letter that the decision to thus define the Temple Mount was a political decision and that Bokova herself was opposed to it.

“This decision was made by the economic council and the management council of UNESCO which are both management bodies, and was not made by me,” she wrote.

The letter continues, “I published a statement immediately after the council meeting ended where I said, ‘Jerusalem is a Holy Land of the three monotheistic religions, a place of dialogue for all Jewish, Christian and Muslim people, nothing should be undertaken to alter its integrity and authenticity. It is a mosaic of cultures and peoples, whose history has shaped the history of all humanity. Only respect and dialogue can build the trust we need to move forward – this is the strength of UNESCO, for the benefit of all.'”
Related: The Day the UN Downgraded Judaism’s Holiest Site to a Stable. In new resolution, UNESCO ignores Jewish links to Temple Mount and backs Islamic tradition that Western Wall was 'hitching post' for Mohammed’s steed (Ariel David, Haaretz).
If you thought the Western Wall was the main visible remnant of the ancient Jewish Temple and the closest spot where Jews could pray at their holiest site, the United Nations has news for you.

According to a resolution passed last week by UNESCO, the UN’s cultural heritage agency, the Western Wall is first and foremost the revered hitching post for a mythological horse and a holy landmark of Islam.


The name Buraq refers to a mythological winged horse, which, according to hadith literature, carried the Muslim prophet Mohammed on his Night Journey from Mecca to Jerusalem, and then on to Heaven.

While Buraq’s story dates back to the eighth century, almost at the dawn of Islam, the precise identification of the Western Wall as the spot where Mohammed tethered his mighty steed while he prayed on the Temple Mount is a much more recent tradition, dating to the late Ottoman period.

This resolution apparently does include the name "Western Wall Plaza," but only in quotation marks. I see no problem with acknowledging the Islamic tradition associating Muhummud's night-ascent vision (the Miraj) with the Western Wall, whatever the date of that tradition may be. But the historical connection of the site with the ancient Jewish Temples needs to be acknowledged fully and completely at the same time.

Background on the latest UNESCO statement and its predecessor is here and links. More on the title "Al-Buraq Wall" is here (end of post) and here and links. And for a tangentially related story, see here, here, and here.