Jerusalem (Jul. 3)
Prior to 1928 the Moslems were never seen going to the Wailing Wall, the Wailing Wall Commission heard Miss G. Hussey, British archaeologist in charge of the tomb in the Garden of Gethsemane, which some Anglicans believe is the true sepulchre of Christ, testify at the morning’s session. Miss Hussey declared that she came to Jerusalem in 1900 and a fortnight later she visited the Wall where she saw old men sitting on chairs or benches.
In 1902 or 1903, she stated, she saw a wood and canvas screen at the Wall. Miss Hussey testified that she had lived among the Arab fellaheen but had never heard them mention the Wall. Replying to Abdul Auni Bey, Arab counsel, she said she knew that “Burak is a new word”.
Today’s sessions found three Moslem delegates from India sitting on the Arab side of the room. They were dressed in green and gold turbans and more gold and white slippers, lending a new coloring to the Gothic room in which the hearings are being held.
For the last forty years individual and congregational prayers together with appurtenances have been a daily occurrence at the Wailing Wall, declared Raphael Meyuhas, 48, a native of Palestine, and the sexton of the Sephardic community at the Wall since 1904 when he succeeded his father, who testified at yesterday afternoon’s session of the Wailing Wall Commission.
He told the Commission that benches, an awning and the screen for the separation of the men and women worshippers have been in regular use at the Wall for two decades and that the Jews always raised their voices in prayer. The witness stated that about eighteen years ago the Turkish authorities objected to the use of the screen but that this objection was soon withdrawn.
The Sephardic sexton said, too, that chairs and footstools had been introduced since the British occupation. During the War the Turks released him from military service because of his position at the Wall, he testified. Prior to last year he said he had never heard the Moslem zikhr service or the calling of the muezzin but he conceded that the Arabs usually call the Wall Burak.
The witness resisted the leading question of Fakhri Husseini, Arab counsel, as to whether he personally wished the pavement in front of the Wall converted into a synagogue. The chairman, Eliol Loefgren, ruled the question out of order but Meyuhas said that the Wall was holier than any synagogue.