Introduction: The Foundation Stone of Our National Existence
The epigraph to this chapter is from Walter Benjamin, “Critique of the New Objec-
tivity,” in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, vol. 2, 1927–1934, ed. Michael W. Jen-
nings, Howard Eiland, and Gary Smith, trans. Rodney Livingstone et al. (Cam-
bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), 417.
1 Aluf Ben, “Netanyahu Places the Responsibility for the Riots with Arafat,” Ha’aretz,
26 September 1996, A4. The Israeli press records the events of the hours before the
violence in the following way: “The guards of the Waqf heard the sound of the
hammers and informed members of the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. These
summoned Hassan Tahbub, who is the Authority’s chargé d’affaires for holy places,
who arrived at the time of the closing of the gate, saw what had taken place, was in-
terviewed by the media, and then left. Inside the tunnel and next to the new open-
ing . . . the mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert; a member of the religious nation-
alist organization Ateret Cohanim [named] Mati Dan; the director of the Western
Wall Authority, Suli Eliav; and the director of the Authority for [the promotion of ]
Holy Places, Oded Viner, all embraced one another. Those present recited psalms
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