JERUSALEM (Feb. 21)
Premier Golda Meir’s special commission appointed to investigate damage recently done to a portion of the Western Wall has absolved the Jerusalem Municipality of all responsibility and blamed a government agency which operates under the aegis of the Prime Minister’s office. The report was released yesterday. Last night Mayor Teddy Kollek referred to it to back up his charge that the Orthodox National Religious Party and the right-wing Gahal had exploited the incident out of all proportion for political reasons.
The report stated that “the atmosphere of suspicion which has been prevalent and the scope of public reaction are unwarranted.” Kollek and Deputy Mayor Yosef Gadish assailed the NRP and Gahal for trying to divide the City Council into factions based on which one revered the Western Wall the most. The commission’s report named the Corporation for the Development and Restoration of the Jewish Quarters in East Jerusalem as the agency responsible for the drilling of holes in the wall so that bolts could be inserted to keep an adjacent Arab house from collapsing.
According to the report, the damage was due to “lack of solicitude for this unique locality, negligence, carelessness and lack of close and responsible supervision” on the part of the corporation. It established “beyond any doubt” that neither the Municipality nor any of its agencies was responsible for the drilling. The report was submitted to the Cabinet and referred to the ministerial committee on Jerusalem for study and possible action.