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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Judaism's holiest shrine is not the Western Wall

  • "Earlier Sunday, Mrs. Bush placed a note in the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine..." (Guardian)
  • " The stamp depicts the pontiff's stop at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site..." (CBC)
  • "Laura Bush placed a note in the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest shrine..." (ABC News/AP)
  • "Laura Bush spent a few moments of silence in the women's section at Judaism's holiest shrine..."(Times of India)
  • Mrs Bush headed to the Western Wall, Jerusalem’s holiest shrine. (Ireland OnLine)
  • The Wailing Wall, the last remnant of the Second Temple which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, is the holiest site in Judaism and backs onto the mosque compound, which is the third most sacred spot in Islam. (IOL - South Africa/AFP)
  • Laura Bush spent a few moments of silence in the women's section at Judaism's holiest shrine, the Western Wall...(ABC Australia/AFP)
The holiest site in Judaism is the site of the Kodesh K'dashim, the "Holy of Holies," where the Aron (Ark) stood in the two Temples. This is on part of the Temple Mount. It is so holy that many rabbis say that Jews cannot visit there, and others allow visits only to specific areas and under certain circumstances.

It is not a hard concept to understand, but for some reason most of the media doesn't seem to get it, or want to get it. Probably because it could open up a can of worms - in an era where Muslims kill each other over a false report of a single desecration of a printed book, of which many hundreds of millions have been printed, the very existence of the Dome of the Rock is a daily desecration of Judaism's holiest site. And when it is admitted that the Temple Mount isthe holiest site on the planet, then people will start wondering how the Muslims decided it became their third-holiest site. And these questions may show other uncomfortable truths about Islam, and where exactly Islam got the idea of the Temple Mount being the third holiest site to begin with. (I do not believe all the statements in the link I just posted about the Muslim claim that Jerusalem is its third holiest site only started in the 1930s; I found a Palestine Post article from 1939 that states the holy status of Jerusalem to Islam matter-of-factly, but even so, the pictures speak for themselves that the Muslim world did not place too much importance on Jerusalem before the Jews came.)

So in general, it is easier for the world media to pretend that the Western Wall (or "so-called Western Wall", as Al-Jazeera.com terms it) is Judaism's holiest site, because the truth just is too messy to think about.

(To their credit, the London Telegraph and the BBC more accurately portrayed the Temple Mount as Judaism's holiest site.)