General Information

Jun 07, 2017

US Ambassador to the UN Visits the Western Wall

United States U.N. Ambassador, Mrs. Nikki Haley, and her deputy, Mr. John Lerner, visited the Western Wall.
The Rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, and the Director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Mr. Mordechai (Suli) Eliav, told the Ambassador all about the site and explained its importance to the Jewish nation.  They also expressed the Jewish nation’s appreciation for her support of Israel in the United Nations.
Despite having a section cordoned off by security forces, the Ambassador insisted on approaching the Wall to pray with all the other women there in order to be like everyone else.
The public was very supportive and appreciative of her visit and she responded with great warmth.  She said, “I amazed by the warm reception I have gotten in Israel.  I don’t deserve it.  I just tell the truth.  It is very painful that only now after so many years, the truth is being openly spoken.”
Mrs. Haley stood and prayed at the Wall for quite some time and then said that she was very moved by her visit to the Jewish nation’s holy site.
Rabbi Rabinowitz gave her a book about the Western Wall Tunnels. The Ambassador signed the guest book and wrote, “My heart is full, and my life has changed because of this visit.  It was a blessing to experience this holy site with spiritual people full of love.  May God bless everyone who comes here.”
 
Sivan Rahav-Meir, a journalist and writer, wrote the following about the Ambassador’s visit:
The fenced in, secured area had already been prepared in advance of the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley's arrival, who arrived yesterday to the Western Wall as part of her support visit here in Israel. But Haley asked to leave that area in order to pray together with the rest of the worshipers in the Women's Section at the Wall. "I want to be like everyone else around here", she said, and disappeared into the crowd. Here is a beautiful excerpt written about it by journalist Itzik Wolf:
"One American woman official proved that she understands better than many Jews what is the essential principle behind praying with a Minyan (with others). I remember my advanced training days with the Givati brigade in the 90's. Saturday morning. My unit was getting organized for... reading the Torah, and the Gabbai (warden) approached Yaron, one of the officers in our unit, and asked him for his name and his father's name in order to give him an Aliyah LaTorah (to do the Mitzva of going up to read a segment of the Torah). In those stages of the training, it was almost impossible to have conversations with the officers, let alone call them by their first names. Distance. That officer, Yaron, said his name and his father's name and had his Aliya LaTorah.
"The huge gap between the legitimacy of approaching him by his first name inside the synagogue tent and the huge distance that had been between him and us outside that same tent, made me realize: when we go to pray, we are supposed to go without all of our titles, achievements, compliments we received or fluttering words we squeezed out of others. Each of us has to simply be just another person who completes a Minyan (a quorum of ten men required for Jewish prayer). He has the exact same weight as the same person whose luck, socioeconomic status or political standing is totally different than his.
"Nikki Haley's refusal to pray in a sterile area prepared just for her, and her insistence to pray among all the other women worshipers who were there at the Wall at that time, may testify to her deep understanding of the position, of the standing of a person who prays before G-d. Not as a person of achievements (US ambassador to the UN, the first woman governor of South Carolina, the second governor of Indian descent), but as a person: 'Here I am, poor in deeds' (a quote from a Yom Kippur prayer)".