The Western Wall (הכותל המערבי, translit.: HaKotel HaMa'aravi), sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall or simply the Kotel (lit. Wall; Ashkenazic pronunciation: Kosel), and as al-Buraq Wall by Muslims, is an important Jewish religious site located in the Old City of Jerusalem which is also of significance to Islam. Just over half the wall, including its 17 courses located below street level, dates from the end of the Second Temple period, being constructed around 19 BCE by Herod the Great. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onwards.
|"Jews may often be seen sitting for hours at the Wailing-place bent in sorrowful meditation over the history of their race, and repeating oftentimes the words of the Seventy-ninth Psalm. On Fridays especially, Jews of both sexes, of all ages, and from all countries, assemble in large numbers to kiss the sacred stones and weep outside the precincts they may not enter."|
|Charles Wilson, 1881. (Picturesque Palestine, vol. 1, p. 41).|
At the Western Wall Plaza, the total height of the Wall from its foundation is estimated at , with the exposed section standing approximately high. The Wall consists of 45 stone courses, 28 of them above ground and 17 underground. The first seven visible layers are from the Herodian period. This section of wall is built from enormous stones, which were apparently cut from meleke limestone in quarries near Bezetha. Most of them weigh between two and eight tons each, but others weigh even more, with one extraordinary stone located in the northern section of Wilson's Arch measuring 13 metres and weighing approximately 570 tons. Each of these stones is surrounded by fine-chiseled borders. The margins themselves measure between five and twenty centimetres wide, with their depth measuring 1½ centimetres. In the Herodian period, the upper ten metres of wall were one metre thick and served as the other wall of the double colonnade of the plateau. This upper section was decorated with pilasters, the remainder of which were destroyed at the beginning of the seventh century when the Byzantines reconquered Jerusalem from the Persians and their Jewish allies in 628.
The next four layers were added by Umayyads in the seventh century. The next fourteen layers are from the Ottoman period and their addition is attributed to Sir Moses Montefiore who in 1866 arranged that further layers be added “for shade and protection from the rain for all who come to pray by the holy remnant of our Temple”. The top three layers were placed by the Mufti of Jerusalem before 1967.
According to the Bible, Solomon's Temple was built atop the Temple Mount in the 10th century BCE and destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The Second Temple was built in 516 BCE. In around 19 BCE Herod the Great began a massive expansion project on the Temple Mount. He artificially expanded the area which resulted in an enlarged platform. Today's Western Wall formed part of the retaining perimeter wall of this platform. Herod's Temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire, along with the rest of Jerusalem, in 70 CE during the First Jewish-Roman War. After the Roman defeat of the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135 CE, Jews were banished from Jerusalem. When the empire became Christian under Constantine I, they were given permission to enter the city once a year, on the ninth day of the month of Av, to lament the loss of the Temple at the wall. In 425 CE, the Jews of the Galilee wrote to Byzantine empress Aelia Eudocia seeking permission to pray by the ruins of the Temple. Permission was granted and they were officially permitted to resettle in Jerusalem.
In 1517 the Turkish Ottoman Empire under Selim I conquered Jerusalem from the Mamelks who had held it since 1250. The Ottomans had a benevolent attitude towards the Jews, having welcomed thousands of Jewish refugees who had recently been expelled from Spain by Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in 1492. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent was so taken with Jerusalem and its plight that he ordered a magnificent fortress-wall built around the entire city, today's Old City wall. According to legend, Suleiman wished to locate the remains of the Temple. He came across a woman who was carrying a basket loaded with rubbish. He asked her where she was from, to which she replied "I live in Bethlehem". He queried why she had travelled all the way to Jerusalem in order to dump her waste. She told him that the tradition was that whoever dumps rubbish in this area performs a good deed. Upon hearing this he ordered that the dirt be removed from the site. When the remains of the Temple and Western Wall were revealed, he proceeded to douse them with rosewater. In the second half of the 16th century, Suleiman the Magnificent gave the Jews exclusive rights to worship at the Western Wall and had his court architect Sinan build an oratory for them there.
Over the centuries, land close to the Wall became built up. Shortly before the Crusader period a synagogue stood at the site. In 1193 the Moroccan Quarter was established and houses were built only four metres away from the Wall. Public access to the Wall was through a labyrinth of narrow alleyways. In May 1840 a firman issued by Ibrahim Pasha forbade under sharia law the Jews to pave the passageway in front of the Wall. It also cautioned them against “raising their voices and displaying their books there.” They were however allowed “to pay visits to it as of old.”
Rabbi Joseph Schwarz writing in the mid-19th century records:
”This wall is visited by all our brothers on every feast and festival; and the large space at its foot is often so densely filled up, that all cannot perform their devotions here at the same time. It is also visited, though by less numbers, on every Friday afternoon, and by some nearly every day. No one is molested in these visits by the Mahomedans, as we have a very old firman from the Sultan of Constantinople that the approach shall not be denied to us, though the Porte obtains for this privilege a special tax, which is, however, quite insignificant.”
Over time the increased numbers of people gathering at the site resulted in tensions between the Jewish visitors who wanted easier access and more space, and the residents, who complained of the noise. This gave rise to Jewish attempts at gaining ownership of the land adjacent to the Wall.
In the late 1830s a wealthy Jew named Shemarya Luria attempted to purchase houses near the Wall, but was unsuccessful, as was Jewish sage Abdullah of Bombay who tried to purchase the Western Wall in the 1850s. In 1869 Rabbi Hillel Moshe Gelbstein settled in Jerusalem. He arranged that benches and tables be brought to the Wall on a daily basis for the study groups he organised and the minyan which he led there for years. He also formulated a plan whereby some of the courtyards facing the Wall would be acquired, with the intention of establishing three synagogues — one each for the Sephardim, the Hasidim and the Perushim. He also endeavoured to re-establish an ancient practice of “guards of honour”, which according to the mishnah in Middot, were positioned around the Temple Mount. He rented a house near the Wall and paid men to stand guard there and at various other gateways around the mount. However this set-up lasted only for a short time due to lack of funds or because of Arab resentment.
In 1877 the Mufti of Jerusalem accepted a Jewish offer to buy the Moroccan Quarter, but a dispute within the Jewish community prevented the agreement from going ahead. In 1887 a promising attempt was made by Baron Rothschild who conceived a plan to purchase and demolish the Moroccan Quarter as “a merit and honor to the Jewish People.” The proposed purchase was considered and approved by the Ottoman Governor of Jerusalem, Rauf Pasha, and by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammed Tahir Husseini. Even after permission was obtained from the highest secular and Muslim religious authority to proceed, the transaction was shelved after the authorities insisted that after demolishing the quarter no construction of any type could take place there, only trees could be planted to beautify the area. Additionally the Jews would not have full control over the area. This meant that they would have no power to stop people from using the plaza for various activities, including the driving of mules, which would cause a disturbance to worshippers. Other reports place the scheme's failure on Jewish infighting as to whether the plan would fester a detrimental Arab reaction. In 1895 Hebrew linguist and publisher Rabbi Chaim Hirschensohn became entangled in a failed effort to purchase the Western Wall and lost all his assets. Even the attempts of the Palestine Land Development Company to purchase the environs of the Western Wall for the Jews just before the outbreak of World War I never came to fruition. In the first two months following the Ottoman Empire’s entry into the First World War, the Turkish governor of Jerusalem, Zakey Bey, offered to sell the Moroccan Quarter, which consisted of about 25 houses, to the Jews in order to enlarge the area available to them for prayer. He requested a sum of £20,000 which would be used to both rehouse the Muslim families and to create a public garden in front of the Wall. However, the Jews of the city lacked the necessary funds. A few months later, under Muslim Arab pressure on the Turkish authorities in Jerusalem, Jews became forbidden by official decree to place benches and light candles at the Wall. This sour turn in relations was taken up by the Chacham Bashi who managed to get the ban overturned.
In December 1917, British forces under Edmund Allenby captured Jerusalem from the Turks. Allenby pledged "that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer of whatsoever form of the three religions will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred".
In 1919 Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann, anxious to enable Jews to access their sacred site unmolested, approached the British Military Governor of Jerusalem, Colonel Sir Ronald Storrs, and offered between £75,000 and £100,000 (approx. £5m in modern terms) to purchase the area at the foot of the Wall and rehouse the occupants. Storrs was enthusiastic about the idea because he hoped some of the money would be used to improve Muslim education. Although optimistic at first, negotiations broke down after strong Muslim opposition. Storrs wrote two decades later:
"The acceptance of the proposals, had it been practicable, would have obviated years of wretched humiliations, including the befouling of the Wall and pavement and the unmannerly braying of the tragi-comic Arab band during Jewish prayer, and culminating in the horrible outrages of 1929"
In 1926 another abortive effort was made by Palestine Zionist Executive, Colonel F. H. Kisch, who envisaged buying the whole area adjacent to the Wall in order to create an open space with seats for aged worshippers to sit on. In 1928 the Zionist Organisation reported that John Chancellor, High Commissioner of Palestine, believed that the Western Wall should come under Jewish control and wondered “why no great Jewish philanthropist had not bought it yet”.
From October 1928 onward, Amin al-Husayni, the new Grand Mufti organised a series of measures to demonstrate the Arabs' exclusive claims to the Temple Mount and its environs. He ordered new construction next to and above the Western Wall, with bricks often falling on the worshippers below. The British granted the Arabs permission to convert a building adjoining the Wall into a mosque and to add a minaret. A muezzin was appointed to perform the Islamic call to prayer and Sufi rites directly next to the wall. These were seen as a provocation by the Jews who prayed at the wall. The Jews protested and tensions increased.
A British enquiry into the disturbances - "The Western or Wailing Wall in Jerusalem: Memorandum by the Secretary of State for the Colonies" - was published in November 1928. It emphasised the need to maintain the status quo and instructed that Jews could only bring “those accessories which had been permitted in Turkish times.” The Chief Rabbinate was asked to verify which apparatus had been permitted, but they refused to do so, arguing that Jews had the right to pray at the Wall without restrictions.
On August 14, 1929, after attacks on individual Jews praying at the Wall, 6,000 Jews demonstrated in Tel Aviv, shouting “The Wall is ours.” The next day, the Jewish fast of Tisha B'Av, 300 youths raised the Zionist flag and sang the Zionist anthem at the Wall. The day after, on August 16, an organized mob of 2,000 Muslim Arabs descended on the Western Wall, injuring the beadle and burning prayer books, liturgical fixtures and notes of supplication. The rioting spread to the Jewish commercial area of town and was followed a few days later by the infamous Hebron massacre.
The Jews requested that the Commission take the following actions:
David Yellin testifying before the commission stated:
”Being judged before you today stands a nation that has been deprived of everything that is dear and sacred to it from its emergence in its own land – the graves of its patriarchs, the graves of its great kings, the graves of its holy prophets and, above all, the site of its glorious Temple. Everything has been taken from it and of all the witnesses to its sanctity, only one vestige remains – one side of a tiny portion of a wall, which, on one side, borders the place of its former Temple. In front of this bare stone wall, that nation stands under the open sky, in the heat of summer and in the rains of winter, and pours out its heart to its God in heaven.”
The Commission concluded that the wall, and the adjacent pavement and Moroccan Quarter, were solely owned by the Muslim Waqf. However, Jews had the right to "free access to the Western Wall for the purpose of devotions at all times", subject to some stipulations that limited which objects could be brought to the Wall and forbade the blowing of the shofar, which was made illegal. Muslims were forbidden to disrupt Jewish devotions by driving animals or other means. Yitzchak Orenstein, who held the position of Rabbi of the Kotel, recorded in April 1930 that “Our master, Rabbi Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld came to pray this morning by the Kosel and one of those present produced a small chair for the Rav to rest on for a few moments. However, no sooner had the Rav sat down did an Arab officer appear and pull the chair away from under him.” During the 1930s, at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, young Jews persistently flouted the shofar ban each year and blew the shofar resulting in their arrest and prosecution. They were usually fined or sentenced to imprisonment for three to six months.
During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War the Old City together with the Wall was captured by Jordan. Article VIII of the 1949 Armistice Agreement provided for Israeli Jewish access to the Western Wall. However for the following nineteen years, despite numerous requests by Israeli officials and Jewish groups to the United Nations and other international bodies to attempt to enforce the armistice agreement, Jordan refused to abide by this clause. Only Jordanian soldiers and tourists were to be found there. A vantage point on Mount Zion, from where the Wall could be viewed, became the place where Jews gathered to pray. For thousands of pilgrims, the mount, being the closest location to the Wall under Israeli control, became a substitute site for the traditional priestly blessing ceremony which takes place on the Three Pilgrimage Festivals.
Following Israel's victory during the 1967 Six-Day War, the Western Wall came under Israeli control. Yitzchak Rabin, fifth Prime Minister of Israel, described the moment Israeli soldiers reached the Wall:
”There was one moment in the Six-Day War which symbolized the great victory: that was the moment in which the first paratroopers - under Gur's command - reached the stones of the Western Wall, feeling the emotion of the place; there never was, and never will be, another moment like it. Nobody staged that moment. Nobody planned it in advance. Nobody prepared it and nobody was prepared for it; it was as if Providence had directed the whole thing: the paratroopers weeping - loudly and in pain - over their comrades who had fallen along the way, the words of the Kaddish prayer heard by Western Wall's stones after 19 years of silence, tears of mourning, shouts of joy, and the singing of "Hatikvah".
Forty-eight hours after capturing the wall, the military, without explicit government order, hastily proceeded to demolish the entire Moroccan Quarter which stood four metres from the Wall. Chaim Herzog, who later became Israel’s sixth president, took much of the credit for the destruction of the neighbourhood:
”When we visited the Wailing Wall we found a toilet attached to it...we decided to remove it and from this we came to the conclusion that we could evacuate the entire area in front of the Wailing Wall...a historical opportunity that will never return...We knew that the following Saturday, June 14, would be the Jewish festival of Shavouot and that many will want to come to pray...it all had to be completed by then.”
The narrow pavement, which could accommodate a maximum of 12,000 per day, was transformed into an enormous plaza which could hold in excess of 400,000. The dusty plaza stretched from the wall to the Jewish Quarter. The section of the Wall dedicated to prayers was extended southwards to double its original length from 30 to 60 metres, while the 4 metre space facing the Wall grew to 40 metres. Thus the small pre-1967 120 square metre area in front of the wall became the vast Western Wall Plaza, covering 20,000 square metres.
Over the decades the wall has been visited by millions of tourists and pilgrims alike and is often on the itinery of foreign heads of state who visit Israel.Structural damage On February 16, 2004, a portion of a stone retaining wall that forms one side of the Western Wall Plaza and supports the ramp that leads from the Western Wall plaza to the Gate of the Moors and onto the Temple Mount collapsed. In February 2007 repair work on the ramp led to violent demonstrations.
In Judaism, the Western Wall is venerated as the sole remnant of the Holy Temple. It has become a place of pilgrimage for Jews, as it is the closest permitted accessible site to the holiest spot in Judaism, namely the Even ha-shetiya or Foundation Stone, which lies on the Temple Mount. According to majority rabbinic opinion, Jews may not set foot upon the Temple Mount and doing so is a sin punishable by karet. While many believe that the rocky outcrop in the Dome of the Rock is the Foundation Stone, others say it is located directly opposite the exposed section of the Western Wall, near the El-kas fountain. This spot was the site of the Holy of Holies when the Temple stood.
Jewish tradition teaches that the Western Wall was built by King David and that the wall we see today is built upon his foundations, which date from the time of the First Temple. Jewish midrashic texts compiled in Late Antiquity refer to a western wall of the Temple which “would never be destroyed.” Some scholars were of the opinion that this referred to a wall of the Temple itself which has long since vanished. Others believed that the wall still stood and was actually a surviving wall of the Temple courtyard. However, today there is no doubt that the wall is the western retaining wall of the Temple Mount and the Midrash refers to the Temple in its broader sense, that is, the Temple Mount. Jewish sources teach that when Roman Emperor Vespasian ordered the destruction of the Temple, he ordered Pangar, Duke of Arabia, to destroy the Western Wall. Pangar however could not destroy the wall because of God's promise that the Wall will never be destroyed. When asked by Titus why he did not destroy it, Pangar replied that it would stand as a reminder of what Titus had conquered. He was duly executed. There is a tradition that states that when water starts trickling through the stones of the Wall, it is a signal of the advent of the Messiah.
Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Kaindenover discusses the mystical aspect of the Hebrew word kotel when discussing the significance of praying against a wall. He cites the Zohar which writes that the word kotel, meaning wall, is made up of two parts: "Ko", which has the numerical value of God’s name, and "Tel", meaning mount, which refers to the Temple and its Western Wall.
Jewish sources, including the Zohar, write that the Divine Presence rests upon the Western Wall. The Midrash quotes a fourth century scholar: “Rav Acha said that the Divine Presence has never moved away from the Western Wall”. 18th century scholar Jonathan Eybeschutz writes that “after the destruction of the Temple, God removed His Presence from His sanctuary and placed it upon the Western Wall where it remains in its holiness and honour”. It is told that great Jewish sages, including Isaac Luria and the Radvaz, experienced a revelation of the Divine Presence at the wall.
The sages state that anyone who prays in the Temple in Jerusalem, “it is as if he has prayed before the throne of glory because the gate of heaven is situated there and it is open to hear prayer”. Jewish Law dictates that when Jews pray the Silent Prayer, they should face mizrach, towards Jerusalem, the Temple and ultimately the Holy of Holies, as all of God’s bounty and blessing emanates from that spot. According to the Mishna, of all the four walls of the Temple Mount, the Western Wall was the closest to the Holy of Holies and therefore that to pray by the Wall is particularly beneficial. Rabbi Jacob Ettlinger writes "since the gate of heaven is near the Western Wall, it is understandable that all Israel's prayers ascend on high there...as one of the great ancient kabbalists Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla said, when the Jews send their prayers from the Diaspora in the direction of Jerusalem, from there they ascend by way of the Western Wall." A well-known auspicious practice among Jews is to pray for 40 consecutive days at the Western Wall. This custom was apparently conceived by Rabbi Yisroel Yaakov Fisher.
According to some, by Late Antiquity the privileged site of Jewish prayer in Jerusalem was located on the Mount of Olives and only towards the end of the Middle Ages did Jews gradually begin to congregate instead at the Western Wall for their prayers, authorized to do so by the waqf authorities. However, the Scroll of Ahimaaz, a historical document written in 1050 CE, distinctly describes the Western Wall as a place of prayer for the Jews. In around 1167 CE during the late Crusader Period, Benjamin of Tudela wrote that "In front of this place is the Western Wall, which is one of the walls of the Holy of Holies. This is called the Gate of Mercy, and hither come all the Jews to pray before the Wall in the open court". In 1334, Jewish traveller Isaac Chelo wrote: "It is this Western Wall which stands before the temple of Omar ibn al Khattab, and which is called the Gate of Mercy. The Jews resort thither to say their prayers, as Rabbi Benjamin has already related. Today, this wall is one of the seven wonders of the Holy City. In 1625 arranged prayers at the Wall are mentioned for the first time by a scholar whose name has not been preserved. Scrolls of the Law were brought to the Wall on occasions of public distress and calamity, as testified to in a narrative written by Rabbi Gedaliah of Semitizi who went to Jerusalem in the year 1699.
|"On Friday afternoon, March 13, 1863, the writer visited this sacred spot. Here he found between one and two hundred Jews of both sexes and of all ages, standing or sitting, and bowing as they read, chanted and recited, moving themselves backward and forward, the tears rolling down many a face; they kissed the walls and wrote sentences in Hebrew upon them... The lamentation which is most commonly used is from Psalm 79: "O God, the heathen are come into Thy inheritance; Thy holy temple have they defiled."|
|Rev. James W. Lee, 1863. (Earthly Footsteps of the Man of Galilee, p. 147)|
Throughout the ages, the Wall is where Jews have gathered to express gratitude to God or to pray for divine mercy. On news of the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944 thousands of Jews went to the Wall to offer prayers for the “success of His Majesty’s and Allied Forces in the liberation of all enemy-occupied territory.” On October 13, 1994, 50,000 gathered to pray for the safe return of kidnapped soldier Nachshon Wachsman. August 10, 2005 saw a massive prayer rally at the Wall. Estimates of people protesting Israel's unilateral disengagement plan ranged from 50,000 to 250,000 people. Every year on Tisha B'Av large crowds congregate at the Wall to commemorate the destruction of the Temple. In 2007 over 100,000 gathered.
"Our Holy Temple, which was our glory, in which our forefathers praised You, was burned and all of our delights were destroyed".
The Bach cites Likutim which instructs that "when one sees the Gates of Mercy which are situated in the Western Wall, which is the wall King David built, he should recite:
Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the nations: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the " — Book of Lamentations 2:9
Many contemporary poskim rule that the area in front of the Wall has the status of a synagogue and must be treated with due respect. As a sign of respect, men and married women are expected to cover their heads upon approaching the Wall, and to dress appropriately. When departing, the custom is walk backwards away from the Wall. On Saturdays, it is forbidden to enter the area with electronic devices, including cameras, which infringe on the sanctity of the Sabbath.
The Yalkut Yosef rules that there is no need to remove one's shoes when standing by the Wall, as the plaza area is outside of the sanctified precinct of the Temple Mount. However, there was once an old custom of removing one's shoes upon visiting the Wall. A 17th century collection of special prayers to be said at holy places mentions that “upon coming to the Western Wall one should remove his shoes, bow and recite…”. Rabbi Moses Reicher wrote that “it is a good and praiseworthy custom to approach the Western Wall in white garments after ablution, kneel and prostrate oneself in submission and recite “This is nothing other than the House of God and here is the gate of Heaven.” When within four cubits of the Wall, one should remove their footwear.” Over the years the custom of standing barefoot at the Wall has ceased.
In the past women could be found sitting at the entrance to the Wall every Sabbath holding fragrant herbs and spices in order for the worshippers to make additional blessings. In the hot weather they would provide cool water for them. The women also used to cast lots for the privilege of sweeping and washing the paving of the alleyway at the Wall.
After the Old City was captured during the Six Day War, the Wall once again became accessible to Jewish worshippers. Berel Wein in his Triumph of Survival describes the events:
“The moment of the recapture of Jerusalem was an electric one throughout the Jewish world. The Wall seemed to shed tears of joy together with the Jewish soldiers who stood before it in awe and reverence. It was not only a historic moment – it was a moment of faith and religious experience, even for hardened secularists. It was perceived as a vindication of the Jewish historic experience and had a profound effect upon Jews everywhere. As soon as the military situation permitted, a steady stream of Jews filled the Old City’s narrow alleyways, walking to the Wall, from which they had been barred since 1948, and countless Jews from the Diaspora flocked to Jerusalem that summer and fall”.
The large plaza created in 1967 is used for worship and public gatherings, including Bar mitzvah celebrations and the swearing-in ceremonies of newly full-fledged soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces. Chabad activists stationed at the site regularly promote the Tefillin Campaign. Tens of thousands of Jews flock to the wall on the Jewish holidays, and particularly on the fast of Tisha B'Av, which marks the destruction of the Temple and on Jerusalem Day, which commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967 and the delivery of the Wall into Jewish hands.
In 1989, activists belonging to a group called Women Of The Wall petitioned the court to secure the right of women to pray at the wall in organized groups and read publicly from the Torah while donning a tallit.
Historically, Muslims referred to the Wall as “el-Mabka”, meaning “the place of wailing" - a reference to the Jewish attachment to the site. More recently however, Muslims refer to it as “al-Buraq Wall”. They claim the Wall as a Muslim holy site based on two factors: The first is due to the association with the Wall in the Isra and Mi'raj story; some sources identify the Western Wall as the place where Muhammad tethered his winged steed, Buraq. The second is based on the claim that it is Waqf property and a part of the Noble Sanctuary.
World-renowned expert Dr. Shmuel Berkowitz, in his book "The Wars over the Holy Places", suggests that Muslim attribution of holiness to the Western Wall began only in the last 100 years. The official guides published by the Waqf in 1914, 1965 and 1990 do not attribute holiness to the wall and the entry "al-Buraq" in the Encyclopedia of Islam does not make the connection either.
In recent decades Arab Muslims have been vociferous in denying that the Wall has any significance in Judaism. In December 1973, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia stated that “Only Muslims and Christians have holy places and rights in Jerusalem”. The Jews, he maintained, had no rights there at all. As for the Western Wall, he said, “Another wall can be built for them. They can pray against that". Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel wrote that:
"The Western Wall - all its various parts, structures and gates – are an inseparable part of the al-Aqsa compound...The Western Wall is part of Al-Aqsa's western tower, which the Israeli establishment fallaciously and sneakily calls the 'Wailing Wall'. The wall is part of the holy al-Aqsa Mosque".
In 2006, Dr. Hassan Khader, founder of the Al Quds Encyclopedia, told PA television that the first connection of the Jews to the Wall is "a recent one which began in the 16th Century...not ancient...like the roots of the Islamic connection".