Attorney: Probe Israeli paper for printing Obama note

Man petitions Mazuz to order a criminal investigation against Ma'ariv, urges boycott of paper.

obama at kotel wall 224. (photo credit: )
obama at kotel wall 224.
(photo credit: )
Attorney Shahar Alon petitioned Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz on Sunday to order police to open a criminal investigation against the editor of Ma'ariv and other correspondents from the newspaper following its publication of the note US presidential candidate Barack Obama placed between the stones of the Western Wall early Thursday morning, Israeli media reported. "With its actions, in my opinion, the newspaper broke several clauses of the 1967 Preservation of Holy Sites Law and violated rights based on Basic Law - Respect for Man and his Freedom," wrote Alon. In addition, Alon called for a consumer boycott of the newspaper until it publishes an apology to Obama. "I declare a consumer protest against Ma'ariv starting today. I urge all MKs, ministers, judges, soldiers and other public sector officials to freeze or cancel their subscriptions to Ma'ariv in the coming month," he wrote. Alon added that "the boycott will be lifted only once the paper publishes a public announcement in English and in Hebrew, apologizing for its lack of sensitivity, for infringing on Senator Obama's privacy and honor, for hurting the feelings of any Israeli citizen insulted by the publication and for profaning the sanctity of the Western Wall." In response, a Ma'ariv spokesman said that "Barack Obama's note was approved for publication in the international media even before he put in the Kotel, a short time after he wrote it at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. In any case, since Obama is not a Jew, publishing the note does not constitute an infringement on his right to privacy." Obama's campaign has neither confirmed nor denied whether the prayer published by Ma'ariv was in fact written by Obama. A campaign spokesman, however, made clear that the campaign hadn't approved the publication of any kind of prayer note. "Prayer notes at the Wall should remain private," a campaign aide said. The paper added that is was "pleased" with its "journalistic accomplishment." Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich condemned the removal of the note. "Notes placed in the Wall are removed twice a year, on the eve of the Jewish New Year and Pessah, and placed in a special repository for religious items, under supervision to keep them hidden from human eyes," he said in a statement. "Notes which are placed in the Western Wall are between the person and his Maker; Heaven forbid that one should read them or use them in any way. The custom of placing notes between the stones of the Western Wall is ancient and is used as a means of expression by a person praying to his Creator. "This sacrilegious action deserves sharp condemnation and represents a desecration of the holy site." On Sunday, Rabinovich returned the note to the Kotel.