Police have assigned bodyguards for Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Kosel Rav, who is also the rav of the Holy Places around the country. This includes the kever of the Rashbi, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.
According to police, there are “extremist elements” that object to the rav being in granted authority of the kever, and have gone so far as to threaten him and his family.
There have been pashkavilim posted around Yerushalayim and elsewhere opposing Rav Rabinowitz’s authority over Kever Rashbi, a move authorities believe surrounds the funds involved.
The “extremist chareidi element” tenaciously opposes the state’s “intrusion” regarding control of the Tzion, insisting it has no business to do so. This comes in response to a court decision to appoint Rav Rabinowitz to head a five-man committee to oversee the operations at Kever Rashbi. It should be pointed out that NIS millions are deposited at the kever by the many visitors and mispalalim who visit during the course of the year. The rav and his committee now control these funds.
In addition to the degrading pashkavilim, there have been protests outside the rav’s Yerushalayim home, and on occasion, there have been efforts to push demonstrations into his home but they were repelled by police and other security officials.
After a meeting last week between the rav and Jerusalem Police Chief Ilan Franco, Chief Franco has ordered round-the-clock protection for the rav. A police patrol maintains a presence around his home and last Shabbos for example; one could see the rav was accompanied by an armed guard wherever he went.
Family members and friends of the Rabinowitz family expressed pain over this reality, stating it is most uncomfortable that one requires an armed guard to make one’s way to shul on Shabbos.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)