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Wailing Wall Commission’s Sessions May End July 17

The international Wailing Wall Commission which has been taking evidence on the Moslem and Jewish claims to the Wall is likely to conclude its sessions July 17 when the final speeches of the Arab and Jewish advocates will be delivered, it is learned here today. The commission began its public sessions June 25.

At today’s session John Yasmin, a Christian Arab and a professional guide, posing as an authority on Jewish ritual, caused some amusement when he replied in the affirmative to a question from Dr. Mordecai Eliash, Jewish counsel, as to whether the Jews who pray at the Wailing Wall on the Sabbath wear phylacteries. Jews never wear phylacteries on the Sabbath or holy days.

The same witness was brought forward by the Arab counsel in an effort to prove that the Jewish service at the Wailing Wall and the service in the synagogue are not alike. Yasmin testified that he had never seen Moslems praying at the Wall but it is known that he often told tourists that the pavement in front of the Wall was a holy place to the Moslems at which the Jews were entitled to worship.

Another witness, Silim Salameh, stated that in 1895 he laid tiles on the pavement in front of the Wall similar to those in the Mosque of Aksa area. Hassan Ghaneim, a former police officer, testified that during the Turkish rule he often kept order at the Wall during Jewish festivals but said he did not see the Jews sitting down or using a screen for separating the sexes. He declared that his strict orders were to prevent any interference with the Jewish worshippers. This testimony bore out the Jewish contention that the interference in the past was due not to the Moslem authorities but to irresponsible people, mostly to the residents of the Moghrabi community.

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