Ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's May visit to Israel, the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitch, has said that it is not proper to come to the site wearing a cross. The pope wears a cross in all public appearances and is slated to visit the Western Wall on May 12 after a meeting with Muslim religious leaders at the Dome of the Rock. After the visit, which will include a meeting with Rabinovitch, the pope is slated to meet with Israel's two chief rabbis, Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar.I realize when Ann Coulter suggested that Christians were ‘perfected Jews’ most Christians objected to her choice of language and the chutzpah with which she was put forth the idea. But really people – Coulter had a point and she was standing on much firmer Christian theological ground than many of her Christian critics lead on. There was a lot of fuzzy theological wishy-washy mumbo-jumbo criticizing Ann Coulter’s position and thrown into the mix was a great lot of fast talkin’ from Christians who were trying to assure Jews it was okay for them to be Jews - in-the-Jesus-loves-you-anyway-kind-of-vein-even-if-you-are-wrong-about-the-whole-covenant-deal. Just forget about the nearly 2,000 years of forced conversions and prosecutions – m’okay?
"My position is that it is not fitting to enter the Western Wall area with religious symbols, including a cross," said Rabinovitch in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post Monday. "I feel the same way about a Jew putting on a tallit and phylacteries and going into a church."
I found it embarrassing to watch and read. My position is simply this; if you are a Christian and you follow the tenets of your beliefs – so be it. Skip with the apologies. One only need apologize if one is wrong and not for what believes is right. It goes without saying I believe you are wrong, but again, I won’t apologize for believing I am right. Although, I admit I find it embarrassing and enormously frustrating watching rabbis trying to reconcile and accommodate Christianity with Judaism in the public domain. To date, I have not read, met or heard one rabbi who can do it with any degree of intellectual honesty.
What I don’t fully comprehend is the rationale or purpose of the leader of a Christian church to come to one of the holiest sites in Judaism to pray. I can understand why a Jew does it, and I can understand why a Noahide would do it, and I can even understand why a Christian would be curious to visit and see the Kotel – if only for its historical significance. I readily admit the thought of a Christian praying at the Kotel brings out the same reaction in me that running into the Jews for Jesus crowd does – it sets my teeth to grate. You have to understand that bringing a set of beliefs which are in direct contradiction to the Torah and the Talmud and praying with those beliefs in your heart while literally standing at the bastion of Zion isn’t just insulting but offensive. It does no honour to either of us. So as to the cross – keep it for the Vatican and the throne of St. Peter’s. And to Rabbi Rabinovitch – Kol hakavod!