Struggles at holy sites and their outcomes: The evolution of the western wall plaza in jerusalem

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The Western Wall in Jerusalem is the holiest of sites to Jews, a historical landmark, an archeological paradise, and a popular tourist attraction. After Israel gained control of the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967, it needed to address the question of what would be the layout and character of the Western Wall and the area adjacent to it. Both Israeli Jews and visiting Diaspora Jews wanted to pray next to the wall, though there was no agreement on what type of prayer would be allowed. The strict Orthodox movement demanded separate sections for men and women, while non-Orthodox movements wanted a mixed prayer area. Archaeologists wanted to dig in the area adjacent to the wall. And furthermore, the State wanted to hold military ceremonies there while also encouraging tourism to the area. This study uses a historiosophic approach to analyze these contradictory needs and the resulting decisions about the Western Wall's layout and character. It identifies the struggles between religion and state; the status of religious movements and denominations within the country; the status of women; and other social, cultural, religious, and economic issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Heritage Tourism
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Jerusalem
  • Pilgrimage
  • Sacred sites
  • Western Wall Plaza


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