Nov 26, 2009

Haredizing the Kotel

Is the Kotel going through a process of "haredization"? It depends who you ask.

There have been complaints recently by some dati leumi and secular organizations that it is being "haredized". They point to various changes in the Kotel area that indicate new rules are being implemented. The flags at the back of the plaza were removed, signs calling for separation of the sexes were placed around the plaza area, stationing of tzniyus guards around the area, disallowing civil ceremonies ni the plaza above the kotel, along with some other examples.

After sending protests and complaints, some of those have been rescinded. The flags have been returned to the back of the plaza. most of the signs calling for separation of the sexes have been removed from the plaza area.

The various organizations claim that their protests and complaints have helped and they say they plan to continue complaining about various other examples of what they call the haredization of the Kotel until it is all resolved. Rav Rabinovitch has an answer for each of the claims, as he denies there is any such haredization going on.

The flags, Rabinovitch says, were removed due to renovations going on in the area. The renovations have been completed, so the flags were returned to their places. Separation, he says, was never demanded in the plaza area, except during special prayer gatherings (where large crowds were expected) - one sign remains on a partition that had been erected for construction purposes and that will soon be removed.

Basically, it is a figment of their imagination, and is all just a matter of coincidental timing, according to Rav Rabinovitch.

Another example has come to light, this one far more serious. Yediot Acharonot has published today an article (I saw it in the newspaper but not yet online) claiming that haredim at the Kotel are destroying siddurim, specifically Rinat Yisrael, that contain the prayer for the State of Israel. They are ripping the pages that contain the prayer. They showed pictures of some siddurim that were torn on said pages.

I find it hard to believe that haredim would do this - tear a siddur. At least not as a group or as a directed project. Perhaps there are some hotheads who might consider such a prayer to be heretical and maybe they do it on their own, but as a group, as part of a ploy to haredize the kotel - I don't believe it.
Of course such people should be prosecuted, if they are caught, and steps should be taken to prevent it from happening. But to consider that as a directed attempt to change the status of the kotel is too much for me to believe..


  1. wasn't a shul vandalized as part of the intel protests?

  2. there were rumors about that. I saw some articles claim it to be not true, some say it was just a back door. some say nothing of the sort. some say it was other people, not from the protest.
    so I do not know

  3. I heard from a Haredi employee of Intel that the shul in Intel was desecrated and Siddurim and furniture was thrown on the floor.

    The Shul was in a different Intel building, not open on Shabbat.

  4. I heard similar things from another Intel employee. Of course, while Intel employees are most likely to know about such an event, they also have reasons to be "nogea bedavar".

    I have heard of Conservative siddurim being burned before, and from an Edah point of view, ripping pages out of Dati Leumi siddurim is probably not so different.

  5. Rafi - I find it hard to believe that haredim would do this - tear a siddur.

    Why do you find it hard to believe? First of all, they may not even consider it to be a real siddur. Second of all, since shem hashem are on the pares they might simply remove the pages and place them in shaimos. And third of all, when have religious precepts (like shabbat rules, destruction of property rules, placing nefashot in danger rules, etc) ever stopped Charedim from demonstrating that they are holier than thou?


  6. i don't find it hard to believe at all since i have seen it with my own eyes. i used to daven in shaarei khesed and in one of the shuls there, the prayers for the soldiers were scribbled over in ink and the section on independence day was ripped out. this was in a few siddurim. so no, this is nothing new for me.


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