Leaders of the hareidi community are up in arms over the arrangements police made at the Kotel Sunday morning. According to officials in the community, police barred hundreds of hareidi religious Jews from going to pray at the Kotel, in order to prevent friction with the Women of the Wall group, which held services at the site.
“What happened at the Kotel this morning was just unbelievable,” said Yossi Deutsch, a United Torah Jewry party member and member of the Jerusalem City Council. “We saw police working on behalf of 'Women of the Wall,” he said, by keeping those who disagree with their actions away from the site. “It is unacceptable that large groups of worshippers would be made to wait before entering the Kotel plaza for long minutes just to enable groups of women to carry out their provactive activities,” he said.
Fellow hareidi city councilman Yitzchak Pindrus also complained about the way police handled the event, promising to bring the matter up for a discussion in the Knesset. Later Sunday, MKs Meir Porush and Uri Maklev (UTJ) petitioned Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich for a response on the matter.
Earlier, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Kotel and the Holy Places, complained about the situation, saying that “police had turned the Kotel into a closed fort in order to allow Women of the Wall to engage in their provocative activities. Such actions are shameful. Police set up barricades among those who have come to pray, keep the bathrooms closed, and prevent worshippers from even coming to the Kotel, causing great damage to the principle of equality that the site is supposed to represent.”
In a statement, Rabbi Rabinowitz's office said that “the events Sunday morning dishonored the Jewish people, and I am sure that with wisdom and common sense we will find a solution.”