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Tuesday, November 25, 2003

B"H No Injuries

Arab armed with knife arrested at the Kotel
Arutz Sheva: An alert policeman spotted an Arab male armed with a knife at the bus stop adjacent to the Western Wall (Kotel).

The policeman drew his weapon, prompting the Arab to drop his knife. The suspect was waiting to stab Jewish worshipers making their way to the bus stop. There were no injuries reported.

The Kotel was described by Rabbi Joseph Schwarz in 1850:

The western part is the well-known and revered fragment of the wall of the holy temple mount, and is named the Kothel Hama'arabi, i.e. the west wall. It is sixty feet in height, and has twenty-three rows of stone. The nine lower rows consist of large stones, three to four cubits long, and two cubits broad and high. The upper fourteen rows, however, consist of smaller stones; and hence it would appear that this upper part belongs to a later period, and was perhaps built by Caliph Omar.

It is also called "the mourning wall," since thousands of Israelites constantly deplore there and weep for the fall of Jerusalem. It is touching to see how every Jew bends his head, moaning and reverentially, at the foot of this holy wall, and lifts up his tearful eyes to heaven, and exclaims, sobbing, "How long yet, O Lord!" This spot is visited by travellers of all nations; and no one can ever quit the place unmoved, and with indifference. It is no vain fancy! I have indeed often seen there non-Israelitish travellers melt into tears.

No one can describe the feelings experienced on this sacred spot. One paints to himself in spirit the former exalted state of the Israelitish people in the highest degree, and then feels suddenly that it is sunk into the dust and robbed of its glory; but his imagination places again before him the future exaltation--he feels himself inspired, and exclaims, "Surely this is the gate of heaven!" (Gen. 28:17.)

This wall is visited by all our brothers on every feast and festival; and the large space at its foot is often so densely filled up, that all cannot perform their devotions here at the same time. It is also visited, though by less numbers, on every Friday afternoon, and by some nearly every day. No one is molested in these visits by the Mahomedans, as we have a very old firman from the Sultan of Constantinople that the approach shall not be denied to us, though the Porte obtains for this privilege an especial tax, which is, however, quite insignificant.

Kotel 1920

See also this pictorial history of the Kotel at www.westernwall.co.il.