Jerusalem (Jun. 23)
The Moslems own the Wailing Wall and its surroundings and the burden of proof of Jewish rights rest on the Jews, the Wailing Wall Commission which is investigating Jewish and Moslem claims to the Wall was informed by Auni Bey, Arab spokesman, at the private hearing of the Commission now in the second day of its session.
Auni Bey said that the Moslems maintain that the Jews are merely entitled to passage past the Wall the same as other outsiders. He suggested that the Jews present their case first and then the Arabs would reply. On behalf of the Moslem authorities Jamal Husseini disclaimed any knowledge of the defacing of Jewish inscriptions on the Wailing Wall. Husseini defended the practice of the Moslems collecting any time and anywhere for prayers since, he said, they do not have regular places of worship.
He suggested that the large number of Jews at the Wall last Saturday was due to a desire of the Jewish authorities to stage a demonstration. Mordecai Eliash, one of the Jewish spokesmen, explained that it was nothing unusual for a large number of Jews to be at the Wailing Wall on the first Saturday of the Jewish month. Emil Loefgren, the chairman of the Commission, remarked that he and his fellow commissioners had visited the Wailing Wall area Saturday and had not observed anything unusual.
To impress the Wailing Wall Commission with the sacredness of the Wall to the Moslems the religious ceremony of zikhr which is accompanied by the playing of music has been intensified and the Wall is being visited in unprecedented fashion by the Grand Mufti, president of the Moslem Supreme Council and Moslem leaders from abroad. They are also visiting the Zahwieh, an abandoned temple on the left side of the main entrance to the Wailing Wall area.
From sunset to midnight many Moslem dignitaries remained in the Zahwieh, the Grand Mufti joining them at 10 P. M. The zikhr ceremonies at the Wailing Wall drowned out the Jewish prayers. The rabbinate has registered a protest against the revival of this ceremony.