Tuesday, January 29, 2008

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What's Going On At The Kotel...

Original Photos by Akiva at Mystical Paths

For a couple of years now, the back of the Western Wall Plaza has been walled off, under excavation. Here's what there is to see, as of today...

Western Wall Plaza Work

Apparently, a street and a series of stores from ancient times, possibly from the days of the Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple) have been found (notice the huge flagstones, known from the time of Herod and the 2nd Beis HaMikdash)...

Western Wall Plaza Work

The assumption being, the reason for stores at this location would be directly to service the Beis HaMikdash. As in, buy your components for korbonos (sacrifices) here...doves, sheep, wine, flour, oil. A large stylized mural has been painted outside the Kotel plaza showing this...

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By the Kotel itself, we see that half the womens section has been taken over by the 'temporary' wooden bridge to the Temple Mount gate...

Western Wall Plaza

The temporary ramp was placed there to allow the Mugrabi hill, which was serving as a ramp to Har Habayit for police access and Jewish visitor (very limited and tightly controlled), to be carefully removed due to erosion and earthquake damage. This work was halted mid-way through, one as it slowed due to the discovery of building remains in the hill, and two because the Muslims started screaming that removing a small pile of dirt was going to bring down the Dome of the Rock and collapse the 5 mosques they build on (and under) Har Habayit...

Western Wall Plaza Work

Western Wall Plaza Work

Oddly, they didn't feel a need to scream when Israel dug out the Robinson's Arch area, which actually could have weakened the supporting wall and there was a subsequent small wall collapse near the top...

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All daytime photos are from Monday, January 29, 2008, night time photos from January 21. As you may have guessed, I spent the afternoon in the Old City and at the Kotel. It was quite cold today, but my older son wanted to spend the day in Jerusalem before returning to yeshiva in Northern Israel, so we spent the day together walking Jerusalem.

UPDATE: The final collapse of the Mugrabi hill/ramp (into the ladies section!) is attributed to a major Jerusalem snowstorm in 2004. (Picture of collapse here.) In Israel, a major snowstorm is a weather rarity, a once in 5-10 year kind of thing.

A major Jerusalem snowstorm is expected TODAY. (The damage isn't instant, it comes from the freezing-warming and melting-runoff.) Mekubalim (kabbalists) noted about 8 months ago, when the Mugrabi contraversy was heating up, that there would be major archaeological discoveries uncovered there that would affect the political situation and support the geulah. Since the Israeli government stopped work there in July, 2007, it's been difficult to see how this would come about.


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