October 28, 2012 |
JERUSALEM - A simple, ancient ritual is threatening the delicate security balance atop Jerusalem's most sacred plaza: Jews are praying. On most days, dozens - sometimes hundreds - of Jewish worshipers ascend to the disputed 36-acre platform that Muslims venerate as Al Aqsa mosque and Jews revere as the Temple Mount with an Israeli police escort to protect them and a Muslim security guard to monitor their movements. Then, they recite a quick prayer, sometimes quietly to themselves, other times out loud.
December 11, 2011 |
Simon Sebag Montefiore's epic survey of Jerusalem's sanguinary history does not inspire confidence in the civilizing qualities of religion. The pile of corpses accumulated over millenniums from the persecutions both perpetrated and endured by all three of the faiths - Christianity, Islam and Judaism - that have contended for Jerusalem would surely be high enough to reach the celestial home of any one of them. Not that politicians come off any better than believers here. Anyone frustrated by the intractable stalemate in the contemporary Middle East peace process may take grim comfort from the knowledge that Jerusalem has been a flash point for global warfare since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs: "the desire and prize of empires," as Montefiore puts it, "yet of no strategic value.
March 21, 2011 |
Laying a foundation for a prospective presidential bid, Sarah Palin wrapped up an abbreviated tour of India and Israel on Monday, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and declaring her fidelity to the Israeli people. Earlier in her two-day sojourn to Israel, Palin toured the sacred Western Wall and its adjacent tunnels in Jerusalem's Old City, and appeared to contend that Israelis were too deferential to Arab concerns. "Why are you apologizing all the time?"
December 21, 2008 |
To me, travel means trying to understand places, appreciating them for what they are, and making them my own. But sometimes my ability to do that breaks down. It happened in Jerusalem, one of the oldest, most revered and emotional cities in the world. Modern West Jerusalem, with its restaurants, shops, hotels and museums, was not the problem. But the Old City -- a 0.35-square-mile patch of stony hilltop covered with churches, mosques and synagogues wrapped in thick Ottoman walls -- made my heart sick, which was not the way I wanted to feel in Jerusalem with Christmas coming.
April 11, 2005 |
With a big show of force around a disputed holy site, Israeli police Sunday blocked a small rally by right-wing Jews that officials had feared might ignite a new round of bloodshed. After weeks of calm, the city was under extraordinarily tight security as 3,000 police officers set up barricades in and around Jerusalem's walled Old City to prevent Jewish demonstrators from entering the Temple Mount, a hilltop site sacred to both Jews and Muslims that has sparked violence.
September 27, 2003 |
For his first visit to Judaism's holiest site, Daniel Kaszovitz took a ritual bath before setting out this week, cleansing himself of impurity. He wore a skullcap on his head and sandals on his feet, in keeping with a religious prohibition against leather shoes on holy ground. Then he and several neighbors from a Jewish settlement in the West Bank climbed a chewed-up dirt ramp overlooking the Western Wall and stepped onto the Temple Mount, an open-air plaza high above this ancient city.