Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It's The New Entrance Route; Not the Digging!

You have to have behind-the-scenes comprehension to really appreciate this item:-

Mayor Uri Lupolianski announced Sunday night that completion of the overhead walkway will be postponed to allow opponents - i.e., Arabs - to file formal objections to the construction work...Mayor Lupolianski reached his decision to suspend bridge construction in coordination with Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Places...Though the suspension of the work will have no immediate practical effect, as the preparatory archaelogical excavations will continue in any event for the next eight months, the mayor's widely-publicized decision was widely seen as a cave-in to Arab violence, threats and incitement.

What is behind this is that it's an Agudah/Chareidi manipulation of finally finding a way to stop Jews from entering the Temple Mount.

The ramp will be destroyed but the bridge won't be built. How will we get into the Temple Mount?

Any other route goes through Arab neighborhoods annd permits the Arabs to rain down rocks, block the path and otherwise cause enough ruckus to have the whole operation halted.

That Lupolianksi is so clever (and sneaky).

Read this carefully:-

Lupolianski told associates Sunday that "the plan to construct the walkway engendered a wave of rumor and speculation about Israeli intentions regarding the [Al-Aqsa] mosque."

"We therefore decided to be totally transparent with all residents about the walkway construction plan, so they will know clearly where it is to be built and to allow members of the public to express their positions to the zoning board," Lupolianski continued. "The move is slated to help people understand that the walkway is in no way injurious and does not enter the Temple Mount. It is important to us that there is no feeling that this was done covertly or sneakily."


The ramp leading up to the Mugrabi Gate - the main entrance to Temple Mount serving tourists, security forces and visitors - is in danger of collapse, a Jerusalem municipal engineer has warned.

The ramp has not been in use for more than two years, after part of it collapsed into the Western Wall's women's prayer compound in the winter of 2004...the plan for the permanent bridge has been stalled for more than two years, bogged down by red tape among the municipality, police, Public Security Ministry and the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch regrets his hasty agreement to build the temporary bridge, which gnaws into the women's prayer compound, reducing it by more than one-third.

On Saturdays and especially on holidays the congestion there is insufferable. On the High Holidays, emergency services had to evacuate several women who fainted due to the crowding and ushers had to keep many women outside the compound.

Rabinovitch says the authorities might as well close down Mugrabi Gate and bring tourists and security forces to Temple Mount through another gate.

And since the government decided that the very edge of the ramp will be left in place where it is attached to the Temple Mount wall, so as not to bother the Pals. (despite Yossi Sarid's opinion that "the government still has trouble enunciating its purpose. Once, it was to ensure the safety of those traversing a bridge that collapsed and is being rebuilt; another time, it was a "salvage dig" aimed at proving the Temple Mount's Jewishness"), we won't even be able, at the least, to view Barclay's Gate.

See here

This issue came up two years ago:-

...Right now, facing the Temple Mount, with the encouragement of the Prime Minister's Bureau, a large wooden bridge is being built...When construction is completed, the government will remove the ramp that today links the Western Wall with the Mughrabi Gate, the only gate through which Jews enter the Temple Mount. Archaeologist Meir Ben-Dov, who has excavated and studied the Temple Mount since the Six Day War, sent a letter last month to Internal Security Minister Gidon Ezra. Removing the ramp, he writes, will expose Barclay's Gate. 'When we were digging here, a similar idea came up twice. I was able to persuade everyone to pass on the idea, since one of the structures that is holiest to Islam is located inside the gate structure. Removing the ramp could lead to a world-sized clash.' Inside Barclay's Gate is a grave holy to the Muslims. A late Muslim tradition attributes further holiness to this place: this is where Mohammed tied his horse el-Bureik to the Temple Mount wall before ascending to heaven. [see PEF, JULY TO DECEMBER 1997,

...Gidon Shamir is the director of the Company for the Development of East Jerusalem, which commissioned the work. I asked him [last] week how this decision was made. 'Last winter the ramp began to collapse,' he said. 'We decided to build a wooden ramp in its place. We used this opportunity to make an archaeological survey of the section under Mughrabi Gate, in full coordination with the Antiquities Authority. We never dreamed of opening Barclay's Gate.' I am sure, I told him, that archaeologists would be happy to dig there. The question is if anybody thought of the security and diplomatic consequences. 'Of course,' Shamir soothed. 'The Prime Minister's Bureau is aware of the matter. We don't budge without explicit orders from the Prime Minister's Office.' That is exactly what scares me, I said.

"'When your intentions are true, everything converges," said Shamir. 'When you build on a lie, everything scatters to the wind.' Not when the Temple Mount is the issue, I said. Here, it is enough for there to be a suspicion, a rumor, for blood to be spilled. I thought of when the Western Wall tunnel was opened, which exacted a price in blood, of 'Revava' and the mortar shells; of Sharon's trip to the Temple Mount in September 2000. It is unlikely that in this issue, the Prime Minister's Bureau can be depended on." (Yedioth Ahronoth, 4/15/05)

Here's a photo of Barclay's Gate but there's an error. The Kipponis Gate was further north.

In the right hand corner of the Women's Prayer Area, beside a protruding newer building, you can see an area of the Wall composed of small, rough stones. These stones block a fragment of a Herodian era door to the Temple Mount, today called Barclay's Gate after the 19th-century American consul who first identified it.

If this Google Earth image works, it's great.

And you might as well review the notes of my talk from last year.

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