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For many years the Christian appelation for the Western Wall at the Temple Mount has been Wailing Wall. As in, the Jews wail when they come to it. On a visit to the Wall in the mid-1800s, illustrator William Henry Bartlett (1809-1854) created images of the period and place. This image comes from a steel engraved print of Bartlett’s “Jews’ Place of Wailing.”

Under Ottoman, Muslim rule, access to the Western Wall was restricted to Jews. Also, the plaza that currently exists there and has for a couple of decades, was not built yet. The space available to Jews at the Wall was narrow and relatively small in size.

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After 1948, when Jordan conquered the area, the entire Wall and Old City of Jerusalem as well as east Jerusalem were cleared of all Jews and access to Jews was denied altogether. Supposedly, this was a function of the war and armistice, but Jordan had tried to annex the entire West Bank at the time which suggest Jews would never have been repatriated. By the way, the only two countries to recognize the attempted annexation of the West Bank in 1950 by Jordan were England and Pakistan.

Fortunately, of course, when Israel won the Six Day War in 1967, it regained access to the area and, for the first time in millenia, control over this important landmark.

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Shabbat shalom!!

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Engraving source

1929 photo source

current photo source

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