Probe requested against Israeli daily that published Obama note

Israel Materials 28 July 2008 14:00 (UTC +04:00)

An Israeli lawyer has asked the country's attorney-general to probe a newspaper that published the contents of a note US Democratic Party presidential hopeful left at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post daily reported Monday.

Attorney Shahar Alon has also called for a commercial boycott of the Ma'ariv newspaper, Israel's second-biggest selling daily, reported dpa.

In a letter to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, Alon wrote that by publishing the letter, Ma'ariv "broke several clauses of the 1967 Preservation of Holy Sites Law and violated rights based on Basic Law - Respect for Man and his Freedom."

Obama, in Israel as part of an overseas tour, visited the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest existing site, shortly before leaving the country for Germany on Wednesday morning, and, following long- established custom placed a note with a prayer between the cracks of the huge stones of the structure.

A religious student said he prised his note loose and gave it to Ma'ariv, which printed it on its front page on Friday.

The mass circulation daily was slammed for its action, with the Wall's rabbi saying that "notes which are placed in the Western Wall are between the person and his Maker."

"Heaven forbid that one should read them or use them in any way. The custom of placing notes between the stones of the Western Wall is ancient and is used as a means of expression by a person praying to his Creator," Rabbi Shmuel Rabionovich said.

Ma'ariv said in response that it was "pleased" with its "journalistic accomplishment," the Post reported.

The daily said Obama had given authorization to make the contents of the note public and added that "since Obama is not a Jew, publishing the note does not constitute an infringement on his right to privacy."

According to the facsimile reproduced in Ma'ariv, in his note, Obama wrote: "Lord, protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will."