Page "Western Wall" Paragraph 33
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.
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.