Is it Safe For Jews to Visit the Kotel? Rabbis Disagree

Israel’s major leading rabbis have issued conflicting statements over the security situation on Sunday, after two Jews were killed in stabbing attacks Saturday night in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The Gerrer Rebbe, Grand Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter, the spiritual leader of Gerrer (Gur) Hassidic Jews, has allegedly forbidden Jews from visiting the Western Wall (Kotel) for the time being due to safety considerations, a close follower stated on the haredi news forum B’Hadrei Haredim.

The warning stands in stark contrast to a call from Sephardi Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who urged Jews to specifically visit the holy site.

“I call upon whoever has the ability to arrive on the night of Hoshanah Rabbah [Saturday night – ed.] and Simchat Torah [Sunday night – ed.] at the Western Wall, to observe the holiday and pray for the safety of the injured,” Rabbi Yosef stated shortly after the first stabbing attack Saturday night.

“We cannot allow a situation in which Jews will be afraid to go to the Western Wall,” he continued. “The situation in which day after day Jewish blood flowed like water in Israel, [of victims] whose only sin is that they are Jews is unacceptable.”

“I call on all relevant parties to bring about a situation in which Jews feel safe in all parts of the Land of Israel.”