Jun 30, 2022
JERUSALEM WEATHER
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While digging the foundations for an elevator to provide easier access from the upper Old City area to the Western Wall Plaza, archaeologists discovered an archway and steps leading down to a mikveh (ritual bath) dating back to the Second Temple period. The site will be preserved and open for viewing by visitors taking the elevator.

“This shows the connection of the Nation of Israel to the Second Temple,” the presenter said in the video, adding that they also found more artifacts from the First Temple Period.

When complete, the elevator project, dubbed “Maalot Baruch”, will descend 33meters to a new pedestrian tunnel. It will greatly improve access for visitors in wheelchairs or those with other disabilities who must currently with several flights of stairs. The pedestrian tunnel will be 60-70 meters in length and pass underneath the stairs currently in use. The project will also include an entrance hall to the elevator that will eventually house a number of stores, as well as an area for conferences and meetings. The project is expected to cost NIS 55 million and require 10 to 18 months to complete.

The handicapped access project was opposed by both the Jordanian government and the Palestinian Authority who claim the Western Wall plaza is part of the grey-domed Al Aqsa Mosque and therefore holy to the Muslims.

“The Kingdom rejects all Israeli unilateral actions in the occupied East Jerusalem at the Old City in the vicinity of the Al Aqsa Mosque / Al Haram Al-Sharif, including this project that changes the nature of the Old City, its Arab identity and violates international law and decisions of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO,” Daifallah Al-Fayez, Jordan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said in 2020 when the plans were finalized.

The statement did not explain which international laws prohibited developing handicapped access.

UNESCO did, in fact, pass a resolution in 2016 declaring the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, Hebron, and Rachel’s Tomb, to be exclusively Muslim sites endangered by Israel. The resolution referred to the sites in Arabic with the stated aim of the resolution of “the safeguarding of the cultural heritage of Palestine and the distinctive character of East Jerusalem”. It criticized Israel’s activities at holy places in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

The Koran tells of a mystic night journey in which Mohammad was transported at night by Al Buraq, a mythical winged donkey, to Al Aqsa Mosque, literally ‘the further mosque, There was no mosque in Jerusalem while Mohammad was alive and the Koran states that Mohammad never left Saudi Arabia. Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran. Most Muslim scholars believe the Al Aqsa Mosque was located in Al Jura-ana near Mecca and it is deeply insulting to Sunni to claim that there is any connection between Islam and Jerusalem.
The Western Wall was the retaining wall for the Jewish Temples that stood on the Temple Mount.