Jews pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem – “the remnant of the outer retaining wall built by Herod to level the ground and expand the area housing the Second Jewish Temple” – because it’s the holiest site in the city where Jews are currently permitted to do so, as it is the closest accessible place to Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.
Jewish reverence for the Temple Mount (Har HaBayit) long predates the building of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque in the 7th century CE, and even predates the construction of the first Jewish Temple (Beit HaMikdash) by King Solomon almost 2000 years earlier in 954 BCE and which was destroyed in 587 BCE.
The Beit HaMikdash was built, according to Jewish tradition, on the Even Hashtiya, the foundation stone upon which the world was created. This is considered the epicenter of Judaism, where the Divine Presence (Shechina) rests, where the biblical Isaac was brought for sacrifice, where the Holy of Holies and Ark of the Covenant housing the Ten Commandments once stood, and where the Temple was again rebuilt in 515 BCE before being destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The Temple Mount is also known as Mount Moriah (Har HaMoriah), mentioned frequently in the Torah.
Though CAMERA and UK Media Watch have both prompted corrections to false media characterizations about the significance of the site, the historically undisputed background of the area hasn’t prevented some journalists from obfuscating this fact, a dynamic perhaps influenced by continuous Palestinian denial regarding the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
Gregg Carlstrom, in a July 10th article at Times of London (Israeli tunnels ‘wrecking holy sites in Jerusalem’), is the latest British journalist to blur this undeniable fact regarding the Temple Mount, stating that it is merely “one of the most sacred” sites in Judaism.
The Temple Mount, where the Biblical temple once stood, is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism. It is also home to al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site for Muslims, and the Dome of the Rock.
Interestingly, however, it was Carlstrom himself, back on Oct. 31, 2014, who wrote the following at Times of London about the Temple Mount:
The plateau is Judaism’s holiest site, believed to be the location of the biblical temples, and also houses the al-Aqsa mosque, the third-most important shrine in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Again on the following day, Nov. 1st, 2014, Carlstrom, writing at Times of London (2 AM burial halts Jerusalem rioting) correctly noted the holiness of the site.
Mr Glick, who was seriously injured, is a prominent campaigner for Jewish prayer rights on the site of the holy compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary
It is the third holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Jews revere it as their holiest spot.
And, more recently, in an April 22, 2015 report in Times of London, Carlstrom wrote:
The mosque sits on the Temple Mount, called the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims, which is perhaps the most disputed patch of ground in the world. It is Judaism’s holiest place, believed to be the site of the Biblical temples.
Additionally, an official Times of London editorial on Nov. 19th, 2014, (The Old City), over the violence at the Temple Mount included this passage:
The current upsurge in sectarian violence, which some are already describing as a third intifada, has been sparked largely by unrest over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
This is Judaism’s most holy site, and Islam’s third.
We don’t know why has Carlstrom suddenly blurred the holiness to Jews of the Temple Mount, but we’ve contacted editors at Times of London and will update you when we receive a reply.
- Economist refers to Jews who wish to pray at the Temple Mount as “militants” (ukmediawatch.org)