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Israel Objects to Planned British Excavations Near Wailing Wall

The Foreign Ministry was reported today readying an inquiry to the British Foreign Office about plans by British archaeologists to conduct excavations around the Wailing Wall, in Old Jerusalem, part of this city under Jordanian jurisdiction.

The Wailing Wall, most sacred of Jewish shrines, is the last remnant of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem, having formed the western portion of the wall surrounding that sanctuary. Religious circles here are deeply concerned about the plans to disturb the Wailing Wall area.

The office of Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Nissim here announced that it is considering steps to prevent the excavations, possibly through requesting that the Government make representations on the subject to the United Nations.

(Archaeologists from Harvard University are planning to work this summer with other American scientists, as well as with specialists from Europe and Jordan, in an effort to uncover the site of Shechem, first capital of ancient Israel, it was announced at Harvard this weekend. Cooperating with the Harvard archaeologists will be teams from Drew University and the McCormick Theological Seminary. Ancient Shechem is believed to have been destroyed in the year 128 before the Common Era.)

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