Parents in Givatayim were angry this weekend, after the Tel Aviv suburb distributed to city schools a poster-sized photograph of Jerusalem with the Western Wall in the foreground — and the distinctive gold-plated Dome of the Rock above it airbrushed out.
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The mother of a student at the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts noticed the absence of the Muslim holy site, located on the Temple Mount, and posted the image to her Facebook page.
The municipality told Haaretz in a statement that the choice of image was unintentional, adding that “the posters that were placed in schools in the city represent the city’s commitment to education and values and our pride and love for the State of Israel, a praiseworthy idea that received much praise.”
The city said that after being informed of the matter, the mayor ordered a full examination. A preliminary review, it said, suggested that the supplier selected the image from a bank of stock images. “This is a detail, that is, part of a small picture that the untrained eye would not easily recognize that is missing ... we never imagined that someone would erase a historical site intentionally,” the city said in its response, which went on to express regret, to promise an immediate correction and to say that “the person responsible for this grave error will be required to provide the city with explanations.”
The image of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount without the Dome of the Rock has stirred controversy in the past. Slightly over four years ago, the military rabbinate published materials for Hanukkah that included the doctored photograph. It appeared in a slide that was part of a presentation that was distributed to army bases before the holiday. It was in a chapter called “The Festival of Jewish Heroism,” which included an article and a quiz on the Jewish struggle against Hellenistic rule. The IDF Spokesman’s Office said at the time that the educational packet included a photo meant to illustrate Jerusalem during the period of the Second Temple, when the golden dome had yet to be built.
On her own Facebook page, Knesset member Michal Rozin (Meretz) denounced the poster’s distribution in schools and promised to demand an explanation from Education Minister Naftali Bennett.