The Wailing Wall

Wed, 2018/01/24 - 2:41pm | Your editor
Printer-friendly version

The visit of VP Michael Pence to the “wailing wall” underscored an important historical fact, namely that Jerusalem is a historical sacred city not only to Jews, but also to Christians, as the site of the Crucifixion, and in some gospels, also of Jesus's birth (in David's royal city, as the carol sings). Christians can also cite the Crusades and their complicated control of their holy sites in Jerusalem. Alas, the Jewish control of the wall was exhibited by banning women who were in the Pence press group from accompanying him there, because the Orthodox rabbinate disallows co-ed prayer.

This wall is the only part of the Haram al-Sheikh that Jews are allowed to go to, lest they walk on the Biblical Holy of Holies. Ariel Sharon and a team of Israeli soldiers defied the rabbis and some Jews say that was why he was incapacitated with a stroke which left him in a coma for a decade.

Then there is the Muslim claim, that their capitol is East Jerusalem, established by the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque atop the Haram el Sheikh. Mosques built by the Turks also stand at the north and south side of the old town Church of the Holy Sepulchre, although the original Mosque of Omar in the old city was on its eastern side, and set the direction Muslims face during prayer.

Many—but not all—Muslims believe that the Prophet Mohammed was  transported by a magic carpet from Mecca to Jerusalem during a night journey, al Aqsa. The original Jerusalem mosque built at the supposed site of the prophet's landing was destroyed several times in the 8th century. In 1099 the Crusaders captured Jerusalem and turned the mosque into a church until it was taken by the Kurd Saladin in 1187 in a deal with Richard the Lionheart. Real all about it in Sir Walter Scott's tendentious Ivanhoe.

Jerusalem was controlled by Muslims (again mostly Turks) until Israel captured the city during the 1967 war. The sites sacred to the Muslims remain under Sunni control by the Waqf endowment, although from 1948 to 1967, the Jordanian occupantss destroyed many synagogues and banned Jews from entering the city. Israel avoided a tit for tat.

Some Muslims also believe that the prophet ascended to heaven from the Haram el Sheikh, the Dome of the Rock. Under a long-term agreement Israel leaves the administration of the top of the Mount to the Waqf, the Muslim charity inherited from the Turks. However Israel has excavated under the Haram (because it would have been under the Holy of Holies, and therefore is allowed.) Among other things, a prayer site for orthodox women was carved out under the mountain which is as close to where the Temple probably stood as the Western Wall. It is used for rituals celebrating the New Moon by Jewish women.

For a feminist, an interesting aspect of the Jerusalem imbroglio is that under the Turks, the waqf was often funded by women (often unmarried or childless) to prevent their property from going to relatives of their husbands, as is required under Sharia rules, and keep it for their side of the family.

Obviously this outline of the history of Jerusalem is colored by my being a Jew, but not pro-Zionist or Orthodox.

After our Treasury Secy Steven Mnuchin cheered the fall in the dollar, it fell further. Sterling hit $1.42, a 3-yr record. The euro hit $1.24. The Israeli shekel hit $3.40. The loonie topped 81 cents. The renminhbi and the Swissie are up despite both countries trying to limit capital movements (in by the Swiss, out by the Chinese.) Then in Davos Wilbur Ross threatened an out and out trade war with China over intellectual property breaches, and the Greenback fell some morea day  after the President slapped tariffs on Chinese washing machines and Asian solar panels. I own a Chinese washing machine, if with an Italian name.

This money more improves the performance of any portfolio investing globally because most of our stocks are run in foreign currencies.. More for paid subscribers from Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, Argentina, Australia, and Austria.

Full content is available to subscribers only. Subscribe now.