Wednesday, April 20, 2016

More on the Western Wall compromise

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: Should ancient stones topple Netanyahu’s Western Wall deal? Excavating the effects of a planned egalitarian prayer pavilion on the archaeological site intended to house it, The Times of Israel sifts through remnants of ancient civilizations — and modern power struggles (AMANDA BORSCHEL-DAN, Times of Israel). A very thorough article that sets out the background and interviews many of the people involved in the discussion. Some of the comments from archaeologist Gabriel Barkay:
Archeologist Barkay leans on the rickety temporary prayer platform grafted onto the archeology site. It rests on the ancient stones in the park much like how temporary bleachers are set up along a street ahead of a parade. It is, he says, a “barbarically built foreign entity in this place… In an area designated to demonstrated and explore ancient glory, we have modern ugliness.”

He deplores the plan that will create a platform double its size, which will lead up to the Western Wall and hide more archeological remnants. The compromise, said Barkay, is “politically, an escape. The problem is over there,” he said pointing to the other side of the Mughrabi Bridge.

“I’m not against worship; on the contrary,” says Barkay, who is a member of a Conservative synagogue in Jerusalem. “I am somebody who regards the worship at the Wall as important. Everybody has to be allowed to express their views and way of worship in his or her style.”

But this is an archeological park, says Barkay, and solving political problems in the State of Israel shouldn’t be at the expense of archeology.

“The ancient people are not represented by any party; archeologists are not influential. There must be a way politically to form a solution of a separate place that will pacify American Jewry and maybe avoid clashes. This [the park] is the easy solution. It is more complicated to force everyone to pray together.”

“The whole thing is a disgrace,” says Barkay.
Background here and links.