Police to probe Obama note stealing

Assistant state attorney orders police to investigate how Western Wall note was published in July.

September 4, 2008 22:09
2 minute read.
Police to probe Obama note stealing

Obama note 224.88. (photo credit: AP)


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The police was instructed by Assistant State's Attorney Shai Nitzan on Thursday to investigate the incident in which US presidential candidate Barak Obama's prayer note was removed from the Western Wall and published by Israeli media in July. Nitzan explained that removing the note from within the cracks of the Western Wall and publishing its contents infringed on Obama's privacy, hurt feelings of worshipers and damaged the public status of the holy site. "The tradition of putting prayer notes between the stone of the wall has become a well-known symbol of the Western Wall, and people of all nations and religions follow the tradition and put their private prayers into the wall's cracks," Nitzan wrote. He stated that if police did not investigate the incident it could turn the holy site into a source for information on leaders and public figures from Israel and from all around the world. In July, Ma'ariv published a photograph of the note on its front page. It said the note was removed from the wall by a student at a Jewish seminary immediately after Obama left. In the note, placed at Judaism's holiest site, Obama asks God to guide him and guard his family. 'Lord - Protect my family and me,' reads the note. 'Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.' The paper's decision to make the note public immediately drew fire from religious authorities. The rabbi in charge of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitz, said publishing the note intruded on Obama's intimate relationship with God. 'The notes placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make any use of them,' he told Army Radio. The publication 'damages the Western Wall and damages the personal, deep part of every one of us that we keep to ourselves,' he said. The note was made public two days after Obama placed it into the wall during a pre-dawn visit to the site. 'It's inappropriate that the prayers of a person at the Western Wall should become a subject of public knowledge at all,' said Jonathan Rosenblum, a Jerusalem- based analyst of the religious community and director of the Orthodox Am Ehad think-tank, and Jerusalem Post columnist. 'There is a rabbinic prohibition against reading other people's private communications and certainly anyone who goes to the wall expects that those communication will be protected.'

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