Jerusalem (Jul. 17)
While Eliol Loefgren, chairman of the international Wailing Wall Commission is doing his utmost to bring about a settlement of the Moslem-Jewish dispute over rights to the Wall, or at the very least an advance agreement from the Moslems that they will abide by the recommendations of the Commission, the Commission itself is pressing counsel for both sides to sum up their cases today in order to enable the commissioners to leave Palestine by Saturday.
The correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learns that Mr. Loefgren was closeted with friends of the Grand Mufti until midnight and he left today’s morning session, over which Charles Barde presided, to confer with the acting High Commissioner. It is understood, however, that there is little likelihood of the Arabs making any promises in advance to accept the recommendations of the Commission. The Grand Mufti is adamant despite public and private appeals by the commissioners since the sessions began.
It appears that from the Jewish side there is approval of the Commission’s efforts to reach an understanding. In speeches preceding the summing up, David Yellin and Rabbi Blau, both members of the committee entrusted with the presentation of the Jewish case, made fervent appeals for an agreement and tolerance.
Declaring to the civilized world and to Islam that the Jews have no designs on the Haram area nor do they intend to transform the pavement in front of the Wailing Wall into a synagogue nor do they plan to impinge on Wakf property, Mr. Yellin concluded his hour-long address by scoring the bigotry of Moslem agitators but praised the tolerance of their ancestors. Using the Scriptural words “let there be no quarrel between us cousins,” Mr. Yellin urged peace, especially in religious matters in which politics should not figure, he said.
He paid tribute to the League of Nations and to the members of the Commission. Then, turning to the Moslem representatives in the room, he said, “it is true that Islam is inflamed but that is because you have inflamed it.” Mr. Yellin referred to the so-called Moslem delegates from Persia who had admitted that they had never been in Persia and also to the delegate from Java who admitted that he had learned about El Burak from the newspapers.
Insisting that not a single Moslem authority had ever claimed that El Burak and the Western or Wailing Wall were identical and that Moslem theologians had never objected to the Jews praying at the Wall, Mr. Yellin recalled that the Grand Mufti himself had originally protested against Jewish prayers there in the name of the Moughrabi community and not as now on behalf of 300,000,000 Moslems.
Mr. Yellin pointed out that the Moslems while claiming the Wall was sacred to them had never done anything to safeguard the place from defiling and befouling. The Jews’ rights at the Wall, he said, were not based on the edicts of any single Moslem ruler but on ancient custom.
On behalf of the Agudath Israel, M. Blau, associated himself completely with Mr. Yellin’s statements which were made on behalf of the Jewish Agency and the rabbinate. Mr. Blau said that the question of the Wailing Wall was purely a religious issue on which all Jews were united. He stated that the Jews had not claimed property rights to the Wall but merely the continued right to worship there without interference.