Kotel rabbi slams Abbas for comments on J'lem

After PA president says J'lem will "forever will be Arabic, Islamic and Christian,” rabbi says comments distance chances for peace.

August 24, 2012 01:12
2 minute read.
Walls of Jerusalem

Walls of Jerusalem 370. (photo credit: BiblePlaces.com)


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Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz issued an unprecedented attack against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas following his comments Tuesday that Jerusalem “will forever be Arabic, Islamic and Christian.”

Rabinowitz, who is responsible for general oversight of the Western Wall plaza and complex, condemned “the words of the Palestinian leadership that denies reality and in so doing distances the chances for peace.”

“Those who wish to return Jerusalem to the cycle of denial and bloodshed, and to erase its Jewish past for the sake of a political struggle should be condemned,” the rabbi said.

“Jerusalem will no longer be built on hate,” he continued.

“The future of Jerusalem will not be written on the destruction of its past. Shame on any leaders who seek to erase the eternal story of Jerusalem.”

Abbas made his comments in a statement issued on the 43rd anniversary of an attempt by mentally unstable Australian Christian Denis Michael Rohan to set fire to al-Aksa mosque.

The PA president said that the arson attack, which destroyed an ornate 12th century Islamic pulpit installed by Saladin (a Sunni Muslim who captured the Holy Land from the Crusaders) was the first in a series aiming to demolish al- Aksa mosque “and build the alleged Temple in order to uproot its citizens, Judaize it and eternalize its occupation.”

Rabinowitz responded on Thursday with a florid public statement asserting the Jewish identity of Jerusalem.

“Evil spirits... seek to appropriate for themselves and their faith the holy city of King David,” the rabbi wrote. “I will not testify as to the Jewishness of Jerusalem. Ancient coins bearing the names of the kings of Judah and found amidst the city’s ruins will testify to that. The walls of hope built by [the biblical figure] Nechemiah to renew Jewish settlement in Jerusalem more than 2,300 years ago give testimony.

“The prayers, hymns and liturgical poems that are uttered in Morocco and Spain, in the mountains of Ethiopia and on the Ukrainian steppe and which engraved the memory of Jerusalem on every heart will bear witness,” said Rabinowitz.

The rabbi added that “full freedom of religion and worship” has been established by the Israeli government “for the first time in 2,000 years,” and added that Abbas’s words were proof that the Jewish people could not rely on anyone else to secure access to its holy places.

“Through 2,000 years since the expulsion from Jerusalem of my ancestors by the sword of Rome, Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt time and again, concluded Rabinowitz.

“Having merited to return to Jerusalem, we chose to stop the cycle of destruction and to return to our beloved city its eternal destiny, as it is said in the Book of Isaiah, ‘And it shall be in the end of days, that the mountain of God’s house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it,’” he said.

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