Watch – US envoys attend Second Temple Pilgrims’ Road opening in Jerusalem
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt attended the inauguration of the “Path of the Pilgrims”, a Second Temple period road which served Jews walking from the Pool of Siloam where they would purify themselves on route to the Temple Mount.
The large underground archeological excavation has been going on for the last six years in collaboration between the Elad Association, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Nature and Parks Authority.
The excavation was conducted through a tunnel, upheld by large iron beams under the streets and homes in the City of David neighborhood in Silwan, not far from the Mughrabi Gate of the Old City.
Arabs, who view this Jewish heritage project in the Silwan neighborhood and the Jewish heritage in general as moves by Israel to cement control over areas it recaptured in the aftermath of the June 1967 Six-Day War, called the US presence at the event ‘a hostile act’.
“Some people, not necessarily friends of ours, are obsessing about my being here,” Friedman said at the ceremony, adding the excavation project uncovered “the truth, whether you believe or not … the truth is the only foundation upon which peace will come to this area.”
After his speech, Friedman, along with Greenblatt, PM Netanyahu’s wife Sara and donors to the project, wielded hammers to break through a wall and open the subterranean path to Temple Mount, the Jewish holiest site.