CiF Watch prompts Telegraph correction over false Western Wall claim

We’re not normally in the business of comparing the quality and editorial judgment of British papers, but the speed in which The Telegraph corrected a false claim regarding the Western Wall in Jerusalem is worth noting.

telegraphAn Oct. 23 story in The Telegraph by Dina Rickman titled ‘Meet the Women of the Wall: Israel’s answer to Pussy Riot‘ included the following passage:

The Western Wall might be the holiest site in the Jewish world, but not all Jews can worship there as they wish…

We failed to take a snapshot, but here is the original text via a Google search:

kotelLate this morning, we contacted Telegraph editors and alerted them to the mistake.  

We demonstrated that the Temple Mount (where the Second Temple stood) is in fact the holiest site in Judaism, while the Western Wall (The Kotel) is merely the holiest site where Jews are currently permitted to pray.  We forwarded them information relating to other news sites which corrected their original claims that the Western Wall was the holiest site (many of which were prompted by CAMERA), as well as a 2008 BBC correction to their false claim.

Less than an hour ago, Telegraph editors responded to our complaint, informing us that they agreed with our concerns and had corrected the piece accordingly.  It now reads as follows:

The Western Wall might be the holiest site in the Jewish world where Jews are permitted to pray, but not all Jews can worship there as they wish…

Here it is on Google:

kotel 2This quick revision stands in stark contrast to the stonewalling and obfuscations we encountered when filing a similar complaint to the Guardian over Harriet Sherwood’s false claim regarding the Western Wall back in June.

Here’s Sherwood’s erroneous claim, which still hasn’t been amended.

During his three days in the Holy Land, he is scheduled to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection; the Western Wall, the most revered site in Judaism…

Telegraph editors should be commended for their prompt revision – quick, decisive editorial judgment (based on historically undeniable facts) which should certainly be emulated by other British dailies. 

11 replies »

  1. Sorry – The telegraph (and CiFwatch) is wrong:

    “Under current laws, Jews are allowed to ascend the mount and pray at the site, which is revered as the location of both ancient Jewish temples. However, police have the right to veto any visits and in practice prevent both prayer and high-profile Jewish visits. ”

    Since prayer is between Man and G-d its hard to see how any earthly law could prevent it!

    • If you move your lips while you pray, they take you away and/or arrest you. That is how they prevent it. One can argue whether or not you’re actually praying if all you’re doing is thinking without uttering anything.

      • So, following on from Susan’s additional information. Jews are permitted to pray on the temple mount, however they are not allow to pray out loud (or perhaps one might say take part in communal prayer.

        CiFwatch – could I request you correct your own story to reflect the actual facts, and ask The Telegraph to do likewise. It is very wrong to say the Jewish state prevents Jews praying in their most holiest site, when all they do, in the interests of maintaining the peace, is prevent Jews praying communally on the temple mount.

        • Paul,
          Perhaps you should read the debate which has been raging since 1967.
          And refresh yourself with the official Rabbinate stand to date:

          Yes, Jews are allowed to do anything within the law inside Israeli controlled public space but, and here’s the big but, The Rabbinaite which influences many religious Jews does not allow them to do so.

          The job of the Magavnikim on the mound is to keep the peace.
          They try to prevent escalation in light of past experience.
          The best way of doing so is to listen to the Rabbinate when it comes to Jewish matters.
          The Kotel was fine for 1900 years, so, what changed?
          Has the Messiah arrived without us noticing?
          Did Nations stopped fighting without us noticing?
          Do most of Israel became less pluralisitic and more in tune with their religious side?

          No to all.

          Maybe one should head to Damascus and rebuild the ruined Jobar Synagogue which its looting personaly hurts me more than not being able to pray on the mount.


          But that’s another issue.

  2. What a contrast between the Telegraph’s respect for accuracy and honesty, and the Guardian’s preference for distortion and lies.

    • the Telegraph’s respect for accuracy and honesty


      the Guardian’s preference for distortion and lies.

      Look at the current G. homepage, and tell us what proportion of reports there constitute “distortion and lies” …

  3. You are wrong. The wall [Kotel] is part of a Herodian wall and has zero religious significance. There is nothing sacred about it.