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ON THE road: ‘To understand Jerusalem, you need to stand here.’.(Photo by: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Jerusalem’s heart
Jerusalem Post exclusively revealed in this past weekend’s Magazine the plans to publically open a 250-meter excavated section of the ancient route that connected the Shiloah Pool to the Temple Mount
The ancient and the new are inextricably intertwined in Jerusalem, and this was more pronounced than ever at Sunday’s exciting unveiling of “Pilgrimage Road” in the City of David.

Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz exclusively revealed in this past weekend’s Magazine the plans to open – to tourists and pilgrims – a 250-meter excavated section of the ancient route that connected the Shiloah Pool to the Temple Mount.

Pilgrimage Road, as it has become known, goes from the Shiloah Pool to Robinson’s Arch, next to the Western Wall, the last remaining outer wall of the Temple compound. Ascending in a pure state after their dip in the Shiloah Pool, the pilgrims would walk this route to ascend to the Temple itself.

Archaeologists believe this was the path used by millions of Jews three times a year when performing the commandment of going up to the Temple to bring sacrifices on Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot.

As Doron Spielman, vice president of the Ir David Foundation (Elad), told Katz, almost all Jewish pilgrims would have used this road, and it is almost certain that Jesus walked on it during the Second Temple period.

Spielman showed Katz how the path had been worn smooth by the sandals of tens of millions of people treading that route over the course of hundreds of years two millennia ago, until the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.

Ahead of the inauguration, which Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador David Friedman attended, Friedman told Katz: “The City of David brings truth and science to a debate that has been marred for too long by myths and deceptions. Its findings, in most cases by secular archaeologists, bring an end to the baseless efforts to deny the historical fact of Jerusalem’s ancient connection to the Jewish people.”

Pilgrimage Road, Friedman said, is “stunning and tangible evidence” of Jewish prayer during the time of the Second Temple.

“It brings to life the historical truth of that momentous period in Jewish history,” he added. “Peace between Israel and the Palestinians must be based upon a foundation of truth. The City of David advances our collective goal of pursuing a truth-based resolution. It is important for all sides of the conflict.”

The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying: “This is a new image of American aggression. The American presence [in the ceremony] and celebrating Judaization activities in occupied east Jerusalem are an act of hostility against the Palestinians.”

Greenblatt responded on Twitter, calling the claims “ludicrous” and saying, “We can’t ‘Judaize’ what history/archaeology show. We can acknowledge it & you can stop pretending it isn’t true! Peace can only be built on truth.”

The US and Israel have both withdrawn from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations) over its anti-Israel bias. UNESCO has consistently adopted the Palestinian narrative gradually erasing evidence of Jewish (or Christian) ties to Jerusalem by referring, for example, to the Temple Mount exclusively in Arabic/Muslim terms as “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif and its surroundings.”

Trying to erase the Bible stories and the thousands of years of Jewish history in which Jerusalem has always been the focus of prayers and yearning does nothing to add credibility to the Palestinian cause. Just as Judaism (and Christianity) preceded the birth of Islam so too do Jewish links to Jerusalem.

Archaeologists at Ir David have been careful to include mention of findings from Muslim periods, giving them their due place in history. And such archaeological findings could be used to foster not hatred and lies as the PA wants, but to benefit members of all three monotheistic religions.

The presence of Friedman and Greenblatt at the ceremony was significant for the message it conveyed that the US recognizes the historical truth. As Friedman told Katz when asked about the possibility that the Jewish state would be asked to give up Ir David or Silwan in a future peace deal, “The City of David is an essential component of the national heritage of the State of Israel. It would be akin to America returning the Statue of Liberty.”
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