Standing in the park, what immediately captures the imagination is the massive stone rubble, lying exactly where it landed when Roman soldiers pried the huge ashlar stones from the Temple Mount high above. Here, more than in any other place in the park, can one resoundingly conceptualize the horror of the fall of the Second Temple and the destruction wrought there.In this article:
However, since a High Court case in 2000, the archaeological park is also officially used as a space for egalitarian prayer. And now, after decades of contentious struggle and negotiations between all major Jewish denominations in Israel and abroad, under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office, a large permanent prayer platform is in the final planning stages for construction.
“The Western Wall is sacrosanct,” said [archaeologist Dan] Bahat, now retired from a career as a prominent archaeologist. “But out of a national monument, it has become a synagogue.”
Ahead of Tisha B’Av, the Jewish day of mourning over the destruction of the two Temples, The Times of Israel spoke with archaeologists about what exactly is currently being “destroyed” at the Robinson’s Arch prayer area, and, after getting a glimpse of still unfinalized plans for the new expanded permanent platform, what other evidence of Judaism’s historical past may be “desecrated” — or even potentially better preserved.The article has very full background and it interviews many of the people whose opinion about the situation matters. Pour some coffee, or whatever you drink, sit down, and read it all.
Archaeologist Eilat Mazar formerly opposed the construction of the plaza along with Dr. Bahat. But, according to this article, she feels that progress has been made in addressing the objections of the archaeologists.
The debate over whether the development of this site as a place for egalitarian prayer takes adequate care of the archaeological ruins has been going on for a while. Background here and follow the links.
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