Catholics and Jews may be competing for the same space for religious ceremonies in David's Tomb in Jerusalem this weekend, as thousands of people from both faiths flood the city to celebrate the Shavuot (Pentecost) holiday.
Rebbetzin Yoheved Grossman, one of the main organizers of Jewish religious activity at the Tomb, stated to Arutz Sheva on Tuesday that officials are highly concerned with the safety and security implications of holding two simultaneous events.
"Before Passover, on the evening of burning chametz (leaven – ed.), a group of Catholics with Father Pizzabella (the custodian, or Custos, of holy sites in Israel from the Vatican – ed.) held a ceremony in the Tomb with incense," she fired, noting the incident was held deliberately when Jews were not there due to their other religious obligations.
"We have received information from Italy and France that 500 Catholics are due to arrive here at the height of Shavuot," she continued. "They are planning to go upstairs to the Cenacle (the room where the Last Supper allegedly took place – ed.), which obviously did not really exist, and hold a coronation ceremony for the Pizzabella, who is responsible for their places in the Middle East."
"He gets a coronation for another three years for the Vatican, and it will actually be in David's Tomb and precisely during prayers," the Rebbetzin added, incensed. The ceremony is allegedly due to be held at the height of the prayers for Shavuot, the holiday celebrating the Jewish people accepting the Torah and the supremacy of Jewish law. In Jewish law, worship cannot be held in the same building as worship from another faith, making the arrangement particularly problematic.
"All the rabbis said that a situation like this will lead to idolatry," the Rebbetzin lamented. "This is a case of Jews or Catholics."
Moreover, she explained, "there is a serious safety problem that may arise during the meeting between thousands of Jewish worshipers on the special day, the day of the birth and death of King David, and thousands of Catholics are expected to arrive besides the 500 in question."
The Rebbetzin called on thousands of Jews to flood the Tomb instead, to show Israel's sovereignty over the site and to preserve its Jewish heritage and significance. She noted that, in 2014, 40,000 people came to visit the Tomb on Shavuot, and hoped to see double that number.
The David's Tomb staff have contacted the police with a request to prevent the Catholic event and thus avoid severe damage to Jewish worship on the day, as well as to prevent safety issues.
"We went to the police with the information and the fear of rubbing shoulders," she said. "This is a small complex. If thousands of Catholics are also here it will be a safety problem."
The Police are refusing to address the situation, citing freedom of religion.
"Every Jew must go," she urged. "It is inconceivable that they would call themselves guardians of the wall and of the city, our city."
"David was persecuted so much in his life and we must protect the Tomb," she continued. "They [Catholics] have so many churches and cathedrals to go to; let them go to them."
The Rebbetzin added that her efforts have already been approved by the strict Mea Shearim community, but she called on Jews of all creeds to enter the Tomb as well.
"Everyone, should be here – even 'settlers,' Religious Zionists, haredim…David brings everyone together."