Photo: Reuters
Western Wall
Photo: Reuters
Arab youths denied entry to Western Wall
Security guards at Western Wall refuse to permit Arab high school students, visiting Jerusalem with delegation of Israeli and German youth, to enter site
Three Arab teenagers visiting Jerusalem with a delegation of Israeli and German youth were denied access to the Western Wall plaza, while their Jewish and German peers were permitted to enter the venue.


The incident occurred during a trip to Jerusalem of Israeli high school students from the southern coastal region of the country and their
German counterparts, in the framework of a youth exchange program.


After visiting holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Christian Quarter, the group made its way to the Western Wall, where it was stopped by security guards who demanded to see the students' IDs. After examining the IDs, the guards informed the delegation that all members would be permitted to go inside, save for three Arab students.


In response, the students decided to show solidarity with their friends and leave the place without entering the compound.


"This was shameful and disgraceful. German tourists arrive at a site holy to the Jews, and this is what they see," said Zakariya Barhoum from Ein Rafaa, whose son Salah was one of the students who was refused access to the place.


The office of Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz said in response: "Our policy is that the Western Wall is an important Jewish institute, which is open to all those who wish to come and pray there." The Rabbi's office added that security at the place was under the jurisdiction of the Israel police.


The Police said that, "Security guards sought to conduct a sample examination of the group members' IDs, but the latter refused and left the place."


First published: 04.11.07, 09:38
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