For the second time in the space of just a few days people armed with hammer and chisel have attacked the Ottoman era tiles at the entrance of the Tomb of Kind David on Mount Zion, right below the area where Christian tradition places the Cenacle.
The news has been re-launched by the website
terrasanta.net, which is linked to the Custodian of the Holy Land. The
very strange circumstances of the occurrence are particularly shocking
as they seem to suggest that this may not simply be an act of vandalism.
The first attack took place on the 20th of
December 2012, when police discovered in full daylight, in a place where
a lot of Jewish people congregate, an ultra-Orthodox young man hacking
at the tiles dating back to the XVII century, which were discovered
during some restoration works in 2010.
The man excused himself by saying
that he was there to recite a prayer for the Shidduch, a Jewish
tradition for finding a husband or wife, but had been told that the
tiles would prevent his prayer from reaching God.
The bizarre excuse provoked general mirth across
Israel, but perhaps this meant that the matter was not fully dealt with.
Thus, in the night between Wednesday and Thursday someone was able to
go back and almost finish what the young man had begun; only a 50 square
centimetres area of blue and white tiles, typical of the Ottoman era,
is now left intact.
The idea that the tiles would hinder prayer
because they would cover a sacred wall is beyond any form of logic. The
tiles are in the vestibule at the entrance of the Cenotaph that is
revered (despite serious archaeological doubts) as the Tomb of King
David. One needs only cross the threshold to find the wall now
completely bare. The truth is probably that whoever removed the tiles
did so because he/she thought that a figurative element belonging to the
Islamic tradition was utterly unacceptable in that place. Whoever did
this, probably did not act alone.
What gives an even sourer taste to the occurrence
is the fact that David’s tomb is a place in Jerusalem where one could
actually really see with the naked eye the monotheistic religions
The Jewish Christian communities were in fact the first to
worship the tomb.
Thanks to the tie between Old and New Testament they
were able to remember King David in the same spot where they worshiped
When the Franciscans were expelled from the area
in 1552, the Muslims turned the place into a mosque still dedicated to
David who was worshiped as a prophet in the Koran too.
This explains the
presence of the Ottoman era ornaments, legacy of a complex and varied
history, which fanatics of the Jewish religious right wing, who have
also been busy soiling the walls of some churches with blasphemous
slogans, would like to hack away with hammer and chisel.