Saturday, July 07, 2007

Love Thy Neighbor



Portraits of Jerusalem, an exceptional radio broadcast on the BBC 4, touches on some of the problems of a righteous city which is holy to a trinity of faiths: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Land is scarce and scrapping over it becomes fierce.
Some hardliners see redemption in ratcheting up a Jewish presence inside the Old city walls, and Star of David banners are aggressively displayed in some of the newly-purchased upper story properties in the Christian sections.
The quotes from Father Jerry (Jerome Murphy O'Connor, professor at the Ecole Biblique) are quite poignant, as he copes with the decline of the Christian minority that he has witnessed over the past four decades.
With such a long history of rancour, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the city fathers of Jerusalem have done a quiet U-turn and scrapped the controversial bridge they were constructing up to the Temple Mount, which caused tensions to mount. The previous access ramp was damaged by an earthquake and a fluke snowstorm,and deemed to be dangerous. It overlooks the Kotel or Wailing Wall; this is the only entrance for non-Muslims to access the Haram esh-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, the third holiest site in Islam. An archaeological dig beneath the pillars, to protect or salvage any artifacts from construction damage, is about to wind up, too.
Had Jerusalem officials announced this decision any sooner, it would have been seen as a giving into international Muslim pressure. (see Unruly Bridge & Tunnel Crowd.) Clashes between 3000 Israeli security forces and throngs of irate Muslims, who were convinced that the Israelis' digging was designed to undermine their al Aqsa mosque, put the sacred space on high security alert in March and touched off protests around the world.

As can be seen in this photo, there is little room to maneuver in this holiest of hotspots. Israeli intelligence trumpeted the arrest of 11 Hamas operatives who they said were intent on wresting control of the Temple Mount from Jordan's Waqf authority and determined to fire up passions on this incendiary pilgrimage spot.


1 comment:

prof said...

hello
rendez vous sur jewisheritage.fr
a bientot