A recent examination of communal prayer books in the Western Wall
shows large numbers of fecal bacteria,
a contamination that far exceeds the normal rate.
The contamination was found in books both from the women's section and the men's section. Still, the Western Wall's rabbi argues that the blame is solely on the women that tend to hold the books close to their faces and shed tears.
The test comprised of samples taken from prayer books from both sides of the partition. The samples revealed extremely large numbers of fecal bacteria colonies including E. coli and other coliform bacteria.
One sample had 460,000 colonies (1000 being the normal rate) and another had 540,000 colonies of bacteria, in addition to high concentration of mold.
High concentration of bacteria can lead to inflammatory bowel, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, and sometimes even to life threatening infections.
Although the books are used by men and women alike, the holy site's rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitch
placed the blame solely on the women. He claimed that hundreds of women cry every day into the books, causing contamination.
The rabbi added that the power of women's prayer is often stronger than men's thanks to their tears, excitement and spiritual transcendence.
The rabbi said that the prayer books in the site are frequently replaced, but reaffirmed that following the conclusions of the examination the books will be replaced more often.
Israel's Association of Public Health saluted Rabbi Rabinovitch for his cooperation and quick response.