This article focuses on the changes that occurred in the significance of Israel’s Western Wall after the Six-Day War in 1967, when the site became a prominent Jewish and Israeli symbol. We examine the processes that established the Western Wall as a site combining both Jewish and Israeli components of identity — a place of national importance in Israeli consciousness. During these processes, the religious and historic contexts of the site remained intact and were even strengthened, but they were now supplemented by modern Zionist-national values and expressions. The new reality created at the Western Wall accorded it a new and extraordinary status as a national holy place. The site continued to represent the past and Israel’s religious and historical heritage, and Jews continued to visit it for religious and traditional reasons. The innovation was that the Western Wall was now infused with new content relevant to the post-Six-Day War period and to the social and cultural characteristics of Israeli society during those years. The site served as a source of connection for the diverse expressions of Israeli identity, and it accommodated a relatively wide range of worldviews, from religious-traditional (and perhaps even ultra-Orthodox) perspectives to civil-national perspectives.
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© 2018, The Author(s).
- Holy places
- National holy place
- Western Wall