Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli attorney who founded the Jerusalem-based NGO Terrestrial Jerusalem, has slammed Vice President Mike Pence for treating his city like an ‘end-of-days biblical theme park’.
According to this report, writing on Twitter, Seidemann pointed out that Pence did not visit with any members of Jerusalem’s Christian community during his trip to the Middle East this week — and it’s primarily because those leaders are Palestinians.
This is especially ironic, Seidemann writes, because Pence is widely known for being a devout Christian.
The most uber-Christian national leader the US has ever known can’t get meetings with Holy Land Christians of ANY denomination. He did not visit … one Christian site [or] one Muslim site. He saw nothing of Palestinian Jerusalem.
Seidemann — whose NGO tracks property transactions and developments in Jerusalem to assess their impacts on a future peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians — then went on to tie Pence’s avoidance of meeting Palestinian Christians with the evangelical Christian belief that it is necessary for Israelis to completely retake the city of Jerusalem before Jesus Christ returns to herald the end of the world.
The Jerusalem that Pence visited does not exist, but rather an ‘end-of-days’ biblical theme park version of the city. The pageant Jerusalem and the world witnessed during the Pence visit was a meeting between a prominent leader of the ‘end-of-days’ evangelical cult and its Israeli sister settler cult – cults that now dominate the governance of their respective countries. That’s not Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, it’s reported here that female journalists are hopping mad over the fact that gender segregation prevented them from getting a proper view of Pence’s visit to the Western Wall. They were stuck behind a scrum of male colleagues, struggling to get a good view of Pence.
It was the latest episode of a long-running controversy over the segregation of men and women at the Western Wall.
The remnants of a wall from the biblical Jewish temple complex, is considered one of the holiest spots in Judaism. In the early 20th century, men and women prayed together at the site. But in recent decades, the site has been administered by Orthodox Jewish authorities who follow the tradition of separating men and women during prayer.
Liberal Jewish groups have been lobbying for an official, expanded liberal prayer section at the site. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scrapped plans for that following opposition from his ultra-Orthdox political partners, causing a rift with liberal religious Jewish groups in the United States.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which administers the site, said it protested attempts to link Pence’s visit to the ongoing protest over gender separation at the site.
There will not be today, nor in the past or the future, mixing of men and women in the prayer plaza.
For years, male and female journalists covering VIP visits to the Western Wall — including President Trump’s last summer — have had to remain in separate sections, said American freelance photojournalist Heidi Levine.
Usually the number of journalists given access to cover Western Wall visits is limited, she said, and the large amount of reporters covering Pence’s visit may have contributed to women’s obstructed view.
“I’ve been dealing with this my whole career,” said Levine, who has covered Israel and the Palestinian territories for more than 30 years. She brought a ladder to photograph Pence’s visit, knowing she’d be blocked by male journalists.
She said she experiences similar limitations as a woman covering events at Palestinian mosques.
And in this report, Jordana Miller, covering the event for ABC News USA and i24, said she found the situation “disturbing,” and that she was unable to do her job properly because the female journalists had been allocated an unfavorable vantage point of the proceedings.
Because the area we were given was behind three rows of men, we simply didn’t have the same access to the story … We couldn’t see well at all. In the end I stepped up on a chair and tried to get my pictures through the shoulders of the male reporters.
#PenceFence was not the first controversy surrounding media coverage of the VP’s visit.
The Foreign Press Association, representing international journalists covering Israel and the Palestinian territories, protested what it called “clear ethnic profiling” by Israeli security officials of a journalist of Palestinian descent from Finland’s state broadcaster covering Pence’s visit.
The FPA said the journalist was asked to remove her bra during a search and, when she refused, was denied entry.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Jerusalem female reporters)