Galilee Diary: Location, Location, Location
If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill. Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth if I don't remember you, if I don't exalt Jerusalem above my greatest joy. –Psalm 137:5-6
Sitting in the Galilee, remembering Jerusalem…
8. The struggle of the Women of the Wall has actually finally begun to find its place in the media here, as the escalation continues. This past Rosh Chodesh, after a court over-ruled the long-standing principle that for women to pray in a tallit at the Western Wall was a violation of "local custom" and hence forbidden, the Women and their supporters came out in force – and in great joy, finally to pray "legally." The Ultra-Orthodox opposition was strident, ugly, and violent – and so it appears that the battle over the Wall will continue next month.
7. A few days earlier, the day before Jerusalem Day, a group of Jewish nationalist activists were given permission to hold a prayer service on the Temple Mount. This touched off rioting at the site by Palestinians.
6. On September 28, 2000, Ariel Sharon made a formal visit, with a large security entourage, to the Temple Mount, to assert our sovereignty there. Though it may have been just an excuse, it appears that the second Intifada was triggered by this visit.
5. "Holy place is a totally idolatrous concept. The Western Wall is vile. It is a religious discotheque. It is not even holy. It is nothing. It is a few stones remaining from the wall of the Temple Mount that arouse sincere sentiment…There are even people who think that it is the Lord's post office – and that is really the golden calf." – Prof. Isaiah Leibowitz (1903-1994, Orthodox scientist, philosopher, and troublemaker)
4. In 1969, a wing of the El Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount was gutted in a fire set by an Australian Evangelical Christian tourist, hoping to hasten the second coming.
3. In August, 1929, after continuing Arab harassment of Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall, right-wing Zionist youth brought 3,000 demonstrators to the cramped alleys along the Wall; the conflict escalated over the next few weeks into riots and massacres – and counter-attacks – that left 133 Jews and 116 Arabs dead.
2. In the first century BCE, King Alexander Yannai of the Hasmonean dynasty (and hence a priest, associated with the Sadducees) was officiating at Sukkot sacrifices in the Temple, and deliberately mocked the water libation (in which the Sadducees did not believe). The crowd angrily pelted him with their etrogim, and he used this as an excuse to kill 6,000 of them.
1. "But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain You. How much less this temple I have built! Yet give attention to your servant's prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. …Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive." – King Solomon, in I Kings 8:27-30