Kudos to the Washington Post for moving quickly to correct an error in Wednesday’s article on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
In a story entitled “An audacious plan at the Western Wall”, the WaPo reports on plans under consideration by the Israeli government to double the space available for worshipers at the Western Wall to accommodate the fissiparous Jewish community.
The story is well written, well researched, and offers views and statements from all parties concerned. There were, however, two things that caught my eye when I first read the story. When the article moved from current events to background it stated King Solomon built the Second Temple. A bell went off in my head when I read that.
According to 1 Kings chapters 6-7 in the Old Testament or Hebrew Scriptures, Solomon built the first temple on Mount Zion. The Bible goes on to record its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in 2 Kings 25. Archaeological and rabbinic opinions differ as to the period of the temple’s construction and destruction offering dates of 10th century BC to 587 BC v. 832 to 422 BC. The Old Testament goes on to state in Ezra chapter 5 the Temple was rebuilt and completed during the six-year of the reign of King Darius the Great — approximately 517 BC. Flavius Josephus records that Herod the Great completely rebuilt the Temple In the first century — and it became popular known as Herod’s Temple. In 70 AD the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and leveled the temple. The lower levels of the Western Wall are all that remain of Herod’s Temple.
I jotted down this error onto a notepad thinking I would return to it later in the day for a GetReligion piece. When I returned that afternoon to the web version of the article I found a correction had been posted at the top of the story. It read:
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said that King Solomon built the Second Temple. Solomon built the First Temple. The story has been updated.
The body had been corrected to say that Herod built the second temple. Not quite – – still a mistake but not as big a brick as the first printing. I put the story to one side to move to pressing business and when I returned to the article on Thursday I thought it’d been corrected once more. The new correction states (and is at the top of the article as the date of this post):
Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the Jewish temple built by King Solomon. Solomon built the First Temple, not the Second. The article also incorrectly referred to Herod as the builder of the Second Temple. Although the temple is sometimes called Herod’s Temple in honor of his expansion of it, the original construction occurred centuries earlier.
The body of the story was corrected a second time too. I give them credit for fixing this error so swiftly, but it did rob me of a GetReligion story.
Did I not mention that I saw the second problem? The Washington Post fixed the GetReligion issue but left a GetPolitics problem. Just after the Herod/Solomon confusion comes this paragraph.
Muslims call the same site the Noble Sanctuary, where they built the Dome of the Rock shrine and al-Aqsa mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, after capturing Jerusalem in the 7th century. The mount is administered by the Islamic Waqf trust, headed by the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who is appointed by the Palestinian Authority. Armed Israeli security forces that often patrol the site are a source of constant friction.
Is it fair to say that the Israeli security forces are the source of friction? Does that not place the blame the tensions on Israel? One could just as easily say Palestinian political agitation and protests, mixed with the occasional stoning of Jews worshiping at the base of the Temple Mount by Palestinians on the top, is the cause of the tension.
The Washington Post just can’t seem to get a great a break with this story. Muslim activists claim there is no historical link between the Jews and the Temple Mount — and dispute the history set forth above and as recorded in the current version of the article. It is impossible to satisfy everyone when reporting on Israel. But apart from the two small items I mentioned, this article does a pretty good job.