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Orthodox Jews protest at disputed Jerusalem site
Published Tuesday 13/05/2014 (updated) 14/05/2014 12:13
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Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men protest against Pope Francis'
upcoming visit to the Holy Land, on May 12, 2014 in the Old
City of Jerusalem.(AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered Monday near the reputed scene of Jesus' last supper in Jerusalem demanding that Israel keep sovereignty over the site where Pope Francis will celebrate mass.

The pope will visit the Holy Land from May 24-26 and before returning to Rome is set to hold a mass in the site known as the Upper Room or Cenacle, on Mount Zion near the walls of the Old City.

Jews revere the site as the tomb of King David, which is on the ground floor of the same building. The site is also important for Muslims.

"As soon as they touch the 'status quo' of this place, bad things will happen," said rabbi Avraham Goldstein, accusing the Israeli government of wanting to hand the Upper Room over to the Vatican.

Sovereignty over the Cenacle, which was renovated by Franciscans in the 14th century before the group was forced out, is a highly sensitive issue.

It is currently part of negotiations between Israel and the Vatican which hopes to recover the site.
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men hold placards calling on Pope
Francis to stay in Rome, during a protest against his upcoming visit,
on May 12, 2014 in the Old City of Jerusalem.(AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)


Tradition says it is where Jesus had his last supper with the disciples, before his arrest and crucifixion.

It is also where the Gospels say the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost, 50 days after Easter.

Israeli President Shimon Peres told an Italian newspaper during a visit to the Vatican last April that a compromise had been reached on the Cenacle, and that "99 percent" of the issues concerning the site had been addressed.

However, no official agreement has been announced.

"When 'the crusaders' come here making the sign of the cross and all kinds of rituals, this place will become idolatrous for us, and we will not have the right to pray there any more," ultra-Orthodox Jewish protester Yitzhak Batzon told AFP.

Ultra-Orthodox protesters are planning another demonstration there on May 22 -- just three days before the pope is due to arrive in Jerusalem.

Pope Francis' short visit to the Holy Land has already faced obstacles, including a rise in so-called "price tag" hate crimes by Jewish extremists targeting Muslims and Christians.

"The unrestrained acts of vandalism poison the atmosphere -- the atmosphere of co-existence and the atmosphere of collaboration, especially in these two weeks prior to the visit of Pope Francis," Latin Patriarch Fuad Twal, the most senior Roman Catholic figure in the Holy Land, said on Sunday.
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1 ) Jesse / Mexico
13/05/2014 22:33
They don't like Christians also

2 ) ian / australia
14/05/2014 03:36
' "When 'the crusaders' come here making the sign of the cross and all kinds of rituals, this place will become idolatrous for us, and we will not have the right to pray there any more," ultra-Orthodox Jewish protester Yitzhak Batzon told AFP.' Don't ya just love Rabbinical convolutions? So reasoned in a bizarre religious way. Though they could have said, "It's ours. We're not sharing. GFY", which is the salient message, and saved space.

3 ) freeloaders / whinning
14/05/2014 05:20
Relax , now go take a bath, remember to wash beh8nd your ears !!!.

4 ) JoeFattal / USA
14/05/2014 19:57
Jerusalemwas not built by Jews. It was built by jebusites, another group of canaanites, who lived along the souther coast, like for example Gaza. Countell rulers have rul this area, so many have built Kingdom over this land> It is silly to claim only one of them has the right to rule it today. The book say that God promised them the land, does it mean that if I write a book saying that God promise me and my descendants Europe, does it mean in thousands of years all Europe should hand their

5 ) JoeFattal / USA
14/05/2014 20:07
Cont......sovereignty to my descendants. Of course not. It is usually through ignorance people support Israel as the only ruler of the land. Israel has won some land in self-defense, why than Religion is now use to entitle Israel to the land as a God given land?. A little more than a trace of hypocrisy in the Jewish / Jewish extremists point of view.

6 ) ian / australia
16/05/2014 05:47
"When 'the crusaders' come here making the sign of the cross and all kinds of rituals, this place will become idolatrous for us, and we will not have the right to pray there any more..." And of course it's beyond the ultra-Orthodox in their self-absorption to make the connection that Muslims might feel similarly about Jewish incursions onto the Haram. That leap of empathy seems bred out aeons ago.
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