Kosel Rav Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz and Jerusalem police commanders have turned to chareidim and the Women of the Wall organization (WoW) in the hope the Wednesday morning, 2 Rosh Chodesh Elul 5773 morning events will pass without confrontation or violence. As the organization has done for the past years, the WoW will be arriving to hold their prayer service on rosh chodesh. The organization plans to blow shofar and hopes to read from a Sefer Torah, both acts not permitted for the women by Rabbi Rabinowitz. As is their custom, many women also wear tallis and tefilin.
On the other side, in line with instructions from Gedolei Yisrael, thousands of bnos yisrael are expected to arrive at 06:30 for shachris to show how real Jewish women act at the Kosel. The seminary girls are instructed to avoid confrontation with WoW participants at all costs to avoid a chilul Hashem chas v’sholom.
In recent months the tensions at the Kosel during the WoW rosh chodesh event has been palpable, at times leading to physical violence and arrests. Police fear the Elul event may reach unprecedented levels of conflict and violence. Police point out it is also the last day of the Muslim month of Ramadan.
Police are more concerned of confrontations between Jews and Muslims, and therefore, senior Jerusalem commanders have turned to chareidi rabbonim and askanim asking them not to send the girls to daven shachris on Wednesday morning. Police asked WoW leaders to have the group arrive but without wearing tallis and tefilin as is their custom – hoping to avoid actions that will be interpreted as provocative.
The chareidim were willing to comply with the police request but WoW was not. When the chareidim heard the women were intent on disgracing the Kosel once again, they informed police the bnos yisrael would come as planned to stand up for Kiddush Hashem.
To add to the concerns of police, Har Habayis organizations have announced a protest tefilla event outside the gate to the Holy Site in response to the closure to non-Muslims. Four prominent dati leumi rabbonim signed a kol korei calling on that tzibur to come and daven at the site in a sign of protest over the closure of Har Habayis to Jews. The rabbonim who signed include Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Nachum Eliezer Rabinowitz, Rabbi David Chai HaKohen and Rabbi Yuval Sherlow. This event is set for -7:30 at the Mughrabi Gate.
The Har Habayis event police fear may spark Islamic violence.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)