It was only after the Six-Day War of 1967 that the Western Wall took on a new political and practical status, when, for the first time in its history, the site and the surrounding plaza came under Jewish and Israeli authority and became accessible to anyone wishing to visit or worship there. The vast quantity of visitors expected at the Western Wall was one of the main factors that hastened the decision to destroy the Mughrebi Quarter, extending to the west of the Western Wall, and build a wide, open plaza. From the moment the open space near the Western Wall was formed, it was considered temporary. A public debate over its permanent design surfaced. We examine the detailed ideas and architectural plans created for the plaza’s design. In conducting this examination, we learn about the controversy that existed over the site’s character: would it become a purely religious site or would it assume national and cultural roles as well? We postulate that the various plans and ideas for the plaza’s design proposed during the first decade after the Six-Day War embodied the tension that was created in Israel during that time, as religious feeling faced off against national sentiment, and as those who saw the Western Wall solely as a place of prayer and reflection squared off against those who valued its historical and national significance.


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pp. 126-152
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