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Western Wall rabbi pans violence at the holy site, but calls on ‘all sides’ to avoid demonstrations

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinowitz at the site's plaza in 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinowitz at the site's plaza in 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The rabbi of the Western Wall speaks out against violence at the holy site after extremists overran the egalitarian section of the Western Wall last week.

In his statement, which was issued in English, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz does not only denounce the youths who disrupted prayer services in the egalitarian section but also appears to condemn the Women of the Wall, a feminist group that holds female-led prayer services at the Western Wall.

“The verbal and occasional physical violence that erupts among those coming to pray at the Western Wall, stemming from various extremist groups, desecrates G-d’s name, creates chasms between people, and harms the holiness of the site that unites the Jewish nation and world Jewry,” Rabinowitz says.

“I call upon all sides to remove disputes and demonstrations from this sacred site and preserve the Western Wall as a holy and unifying site in the spirit of Jewish heritage and tradition,” he says.

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