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Wailing Wall Commission Will Ask Moslems to Prove Exact Title to Wall, Buildings

The Wailing Wall Commission will ask the Moslems to prove their exact title to the Wall and to the surrounding buildings, it was announced at this morning’s session of the Commission by its chairman, Emil Loefgren. He expressed the thanks of the Commission to the Jews for “the interesting memorandum” on the historical connection of the Jews with the Wall which was submitted yesterday. In order to read it the Commission held no afternoon session yesterday.

Chairman Loefgren said that he observed that the Jews do not claim ownership of the Wall, yet absolute property laws are not applicable to Holy Places, he declared, “over which the fiercest battles are always fought.” Hence he said the Moslems will be asked to prove their title to the Wall and the surrounding buildings, while the Commission will desire the Jews to explain whether individual or congregational ritual is performed at the Wall, the difference between a congregational service at the Wall and one in the synagogue, what appurtenances are necessary for the service and what for the personal convenience of the worshippers and finally who arranges the services.

Dr. Mordecai Eliash, chief of the Jewish counsel, explained that the Jews do not intend to dispute the Moslems’ property rights but they do consider that ownership does not entitle the owners to rebuild or alter the structure. He handed the Commission a list of the members of the Rabbinical Committee for Safeguarding the Rights of Religious Jews at the Holy Places.

He explained photographs of the inscriptions on the monoliths of the Wailing Wall, several score of which were defaced before the Commission arrived. Dr. Eliash also disputed the Moslems’ claim that Jewish worshippers in the past observed silence at the Wall, offering photographs showing dense multitudes as evidence that silence was impossible.

Dr. Eliash submitted photographs of screens at the Wall as well as Wailing Wall accounts recording numerous vouchers for payments to the Arabs for the removal of camel dung, repairs, fixing of benches and the water supply.

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