Prey | Pray | Pry
an animal that is hunted and killed by another for food | address a solemn request or expression of thanks to a deity or other object of worship | inquire too closely into a person's private affairs
In Hebrew, the Western Wall or Kotel Hamaaravi, in Arabic, Place of Weeping or Buraq Wall, in English, the Wailing Wall is a relic from the Second Jewish Temple. It is a wall situated on the western area of Temple Mount in Jerusalem, running 187 feet | 57 meters long, and 62 feet | 19 meters high. The wall consists of 45 stone courses, 28 above ground and 17 underground. For the vast majority of the Second Temple era, the Jews were subject to foreign rule: by the Persians, the Greeks, and eventually the Romans, who in 70 CE retook Jerusalem and destroyed The Second Temple. The wall was all that remained, never a part of the actual temple but instead an outer structure that surrounded the Temple Mount. For the Jews, however, The Western Wall became the holiest spot for prayer because the gate to heaven is believed to be situated there. Throughout the centuries, Jews from all over the world made the journey to Palestine to pray to god on the Kotel Hamaaravi. In Hebrew, the name Wailing or Weeping Wall was never accepted. There is a much publicized practice of placing slips of paper containing written prayers into the crevices of the wall. More than a million notes are placed each year and the opportunity to e-mail notes is offered by a number of organizations. According to Jewish law, prayer notes may not be thrown away. Twice a year, Rabbi Rabinovitch and his assistants collect the notes left in the Wall and bury them in the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. After 19 years of Jordanian control, the Western Wall | Place of Weeping | Wailing Wall came under Israeli control during the Six-Day War in 1967. Brigadier Rabbi Shlomo Goren proclaimed after its capture that "Israel would never again relinquish the Wall,” a stance supported at the time by Israeli Minister for Defense Moshe Dayan and Chief of Staff General Yitzhak Rabin. Forty-eight hours after capturing the wall, the military proceeded to demolish the entire Moroccan Quarter, which stood 13 Feet | 4 Meters from the wall. The Sheikh Eid Mosque was pulled down and 619 Palestinian inhabitants were ordered to leave their homes overnight. When they refused, bulldozers began to demolish the buildings with people still inside. The narrow pavement, which could accommodate a maximum of 12,000 per day, was transformed into an enormous plaza which could hold in excess of 400,000. The new plaza is used for worship and public gatherings, including bar mitzvah celebrations and the swearing-in ceremonies of newly full-fledged soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. Tens of thousands of Jews come to the wall on the Jewish holidays, and particularly on Jerusalem Day, which commemorates what Israel sees as the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 and the occupation of the wall by Jewish hands.
I decided to carve out the word DEFENSE on the most holy wall in Judaism to signify its duplicate use as a tool for occupation, separation and ownership. Today, in the state of Israel, walls are being built under and above the ground to continue the social, cultural and military totalitarian occupation of Palestinians. With this act of carving out a word by removing a few stones from an ancient wall I would like to ask:
How does the notion of defense shape our becoming?
Let’s admit our crimes
Let’s admit our history protects us from perceiving ourselves as the radical racists we are
Let’s admit that we are raping people from their home because we think we deserve the land more
Let’s admit that we are killing human beings because we never tried talking
Let’s admit that we are occupying an entire culture because we believe our fear is rational and our trauma is more deserving
Let’s admit our crimes
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