Jerusalem, The Western Wall of Temple Mount – Extra Info
The Israel Defence Forces recaptured the city on the 3rd day of the Six-Day War in June 1967, and 20 days later, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) declared the two parts of the city officially reunited and a policy of respect and access for all religions.
The Western Wall
The 185 foot section that is exposed is an open air prayer area, Ha Kotel – known in earlier times as the Wailing Wall.
The Western Wall was not part of either Temple.
Rather it was one of the four retaining walls that surrounded the Temple Mount supporting the platform on which the Temple formerly stood.
It was built by Herod the Great in order to enlarge the Temple Mount so that he could enlarge the worship area, beautify it and add more buildings to the Temple complex.
When the Romans destroyed the Temple in AD 70 they left standing most of the retaining walls to commemorate the magnitude of their victory.
It is the only remaining portion of the last brief period of Jewish sovereignty in ancient times following the revolt of Shimon Bar Kokhba (132 CE), during which Jerusalem and Judea were regained.
However, given the overwhelming power of the Romans, the outcome was inevitable.
Three years later, in conformity with Roman custom, Jerusalem was “ploughed up with a yoke of oxen,” Judea was renamed Palaestinia and Jerusalem, Aelia Capitolina.
Although the Temple had been destroyed and Jerusalem burned to the ground, the Jews and Judaism survived the encounter with Rome.
The supreme legislative and judicial body, the Sanhedrin (successor of the Knesset Hagedolah) was reconvened in Yavneh (70 CE), and later in Tiberias.
Without the unifying framework of a state and the Temple, the small remaining Jewish community gradually recovered, reinforced from time to time by returning exiles.
Here you are at the very place that three of the world’s main religions deem holy.
With the Christian churches behind you, the Jewish Wall right in front and the Muslim Al’Aqsa mosque above, you can’t help but be astounded.
You will probably be approached by a charming American Jew with welcome to Jerusalem! He is only trying to invite you to a Shabbat to make you become religious.
If you don’t want to go tell him you are not Jewish.
You will become invisible!
When you go to the Wall, you should wear a shirt that covers your shoulders and upper arms, long trousers and for women a skirt that is no shorter than knee length.
Even then don’t expect to be admited, the mosque guardians don’t encourage non believers.
The Torah will come forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.