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March 11, 2018

Los Angeles Times Fails to Correct on Judaism's Holiest Site

The Los Angeles Times has failed to correct an article last week which misidentified the Western Wall as Judaism's holiest site. The March 4 story by Noga Tarnopolsky ("Netanyahu begins visit to U.S., putting aside personal and political troubles at home") claims:

This encounter with a usually friendly arm of American Jewish leadership comes as Netanyahu's relations with some American Jews are at a nadir, following his abandonment of a 2016 deal that would have allowed the liberal streams of Judaism that represent the majority of American Jews an equal place to pray at the Western Wall, widely regarded as Jerusalem's holiest site for Jews.

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Jewish religious sources and authorities consider the Temple Mount Judaism's holiest site.

While many media outlets have wrongly identified the Western Wall as Judaism's holiest site (and subsequently corrected), that distinction belongs to the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is the site of the first and second Jewish temples which housed the Holy of Holies (the inner sanctuary where the Ark of the Covenant was located). The Western Wall, a retaining wall of the Temple Mount compound, obtained its holy status due to its proximity to the Holy of Holies. It is the holiest site where Jewish prayer is permitted.

That many media outlets and even some Jews wrongly identify the Western Wall as Judaism's holiest site doesn't make it so, and The Los Angeles Times' repetition of misinformation is a great disservice to readers. While the majority of Americans do not know what GOP stands for, The Los Angeles Times would hardly report that it is "widely regarded to stand for 'Government of the People,'" and leave it at that, as if the false information is correct.

Media outlets which have previously corrected the identical Western Wall error include Haaretz, The New York Times (on multiple occasions), The Independent, BBC, National Geographic, Agence France Presse, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times (2004 photo caption), among others.

Posted by TS at March 11, 2018 04:34 AM

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