Haaretz Corrects About Judaism’s Holiest Site

CAMERA’s Israel office today prompted correction of an article in Haaretz‘s English edition which wrongly identified the Western Wall as “Judaism’s holiest site.” The article, which appeared online Dec. 15 (“Despite Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital, Pence’s Visit to Western Wall Expected to be ‘Private’“), and in print on page two yesterday, erred:

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to visit the Western Wall on Wednesday during his scheduled trip to Israel next week, but the visit is planned as a “private” one that is not officially part of his trip. Pence’s family and the rabbi of the Western Wall will accompany him to Judaism’s holiest site, located in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The erroneous description of the Western Wall as “Judaism’s holiest site” does not appear in the Hebrew version of the same article by Noa Landau. (For additional examples in which erroneous information about Israel appears in Haaretz‘s English edition, but not in the corresponding Hebrew articles, please see “Haaretz, Lost in Translation.”)
 
The Temple Mount, not the Western Wall, is Judaism’s holiest site. This is a point which has been corrected multiple times by a wide variety of major media outlets including The New York Times, The Independent, The Washington Post,  and most recently – just this week – The Associated Press. The Western Wall is the holiest site where Jewish prayer is permitted. Haaretz also corrected this previously in 2014.
 
In response to communication from CAMERA, Haaretz editors promptly amended the text, which now accurately refers to the Western Wall as “one of Judaism’s holiest sites.”
 

In addition, editors commendably appended a note alerting readers to the fact that the article had been amended.
 

In a separate issue, the article appears to have been out of date by the time it appeared yesterday in the print edition (“Despite Trump cal, Mike Pence’s Kotel visit will be private,” page 2). It claimed that the Western Wall visit “is planned as a ‘private’ one that is not officially part of this trip.” Yet, on page one of the very same paper the same day, Haaretz‘s Amos Harel wrote (“Palestinian protests to continue through Pence’s visit here”):
However, Pence’s visit was preceded by a phone briefing by a White House representative to Israeli journalists where it was stressed that the vice president would visit the Western Wall as part of his official visit, and that the administration cannot conceive of a peace deal in which the Western Wall would not remain a part of Israel. (Emphasis added.)
In addition, multiple other Israeli media outlets also reported yesterday that an administration official told Israeli journalists that the Western Wall visit was part of the official itinerary. Thus, while Landau’s initial Dec. 15 digital report that the visit was private may very well have been correct at that time, by yesterday, the information had changed, as evidenced by the contradiction between the two articles in Haaretz (page one versus page two). (By this morning, news broke that Vice President’s visit has been delayed until January.)
 
For additional Haaretz corrections prompted by CAMERA and Presspectiva, CAMERA’s Hebrew website, please see here.