The High Court of Justice on Wednesday will hear NGO Emek Shaveh’s petition against the Religious Services Ministry over claims regarding the religious sanctity and ongoing excavation of the Old City’s Western Wall tunnel.I noted the filing of the petition here back in December. The current article answers some of the questions I posted there by clarifying the process that Emek Shaveh argues should have been followed.
The left-wing consortium of archeologists and activists submitted the petition to the High Court in December, noting that the tunnel, which was excavated by the Israel Antiquities Authority, runs under the Old City’s Muslim Quarter.
The petition followed a November 6 notice by the ministry stating that the tunnel is recognized as a sacred site only by Jews, although Emek Shaveh contends that a legally mandated ministerial committee was not assembled to make the determination or approve the excavation.Cross-file under Archaeology and Politics. Emek Shaveh has also been in the news in another story noted here.
According to the Antiquities Law, excavating a sacred site in the country first necessitates the assemblage of a ministerial committee for approval. The committee must include the ministers of Culture, Religious Services and Justice.