Israel is planning a major archaeological dig under the Western Wall (Kotel) plaza, opposite the Temple Mount, officials announced Thursday. The excavations will create an archaeological park directly underneath the area where worshippers currently stand while praying at the Kotel.
The current prayer area will remain open, supported by pillars, while a new area will be added underneath, at the level at which worshippers at the ancient Temple stood in the past.
Don’t expect the Arab leaders to miss this opportunity.
The dig may be met with harsh reactions from Muslim and Arab leaders in Israel and the Palestinian Authority, many of whom have accused Israel of attempting to damage the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount. Jerusalem-area Muslims recently rioted for several days after it was rumored that “Jewish settlers” had planned to pray on the Temple Mount.
The present plaza level was lowered in the 1960s, as I noted with this interesting photo comparison.