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Worshippers at Risk

Western Wall (Archive photo) Photo: Reuters
Western Wall (Archive photo) Photo: Reuters
 
 

Risk of collapse at Western Wall

Following report of risk of collapse, Western Wall authorities plan to demolish Mugrabi hill – Jews' only entrance to the Temple Mount, meaning Jews can no longer enter site

Chaim Levinson
Published: 01.02.07, 22:02 / Israel Travel

Within the next few days, the Western Wall authorities will begin demolishing Mugrabi hill, after it was discovered that the dirt paving beneath it was at risk of collapsing, along with the temporary wooden bridge that was built at the site.

 

Mugrabi Gate is the only opening through which Jews may go up the hill, and destroying the hill will prevent this as well.

 

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The dirt paving in the Western Wall's square, the Mugrabi hill, leads to the Mugrabi Gate, one of the Temple Mount's entrances.

 

This is the only Gate which is under complete Israeli control, without Wakf supervision. Therefore, the paving is used by Jews as a crossing to reach the Mount.

 

This is also where police prepare to break into the Mount on Friday's incase stones are thrown towards the Wall.

 

'Worshippers' safety in danger'

Three years ago, a part of the hill collapsed in a snow storm and in its place a temporary wooden bridge was constructed.

 

In the long term plans, the government and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation plan to construct a permanent bridge. According to the plan, an aerial bridge will be constructed which will begin from the outside of the square.

 

It should be noted that the Western Wall Heritage Foundation works under the guidelines of the Chief Rabbinate, according to which going up to the Temple Mount is forbidden by the Halacha (Jewish law).

 

Therefore, the WWHF is not interested in building this bridge, but is going forward with the plans according to the police's security demands.

 

In recent days, engineer Ofer Cohen submitted his professional opinion that the danger is immediate: "In the existing situation, after large amounts of rain, another collapse could occur, which may endanger the stability of the temporary bridge and the safety of the worshippers in the square."

 

This means that by the next storm, there may be no choice but to begin work on demolishing the paving before it collapses on worshipers.

 

The Western Wall's rabbi, Shmuel Ravinovitch, said that "the police must decide if they want to build a bridge or not. If they do not, we will take down the mound and expand the ladies section. If they do, they should act in order to advance the plans of building a permanent bridge."

 

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