Jewish Scene
Beggars kicked out of Western Wall
Ari Galahar
Published: 21.04.10, 07:32
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36 Talkbacks for this article
1. It's about time!
Boker Tov Eliahu   (04.21.10)
There are more than enough worthy and well-run charities in Israel. ontribute to them generously! Your charity will be more likely to help those that really need it this way. Street beggars are often people suffering from various addictions (drugs,alchohol, etc.) and instead of helping the truly needy who often are too shy to beg, you are contributing to an individual addiction. Besides, the kotel is a place of prayer that has constantly been disturbed by panhandlers. This is bad for those who just want to pray and offensive to tourists and citizens alike,
Israeli grandma   (04.21.10)
The harassment of tourists and local people by beggars is a disgrace. There could be a central secure box on site to donate sums for genuine needy managed by approved personnel.
3. Allow 'genuine' cases a space there
David Lev ,   Shilo Israel   (04.21.10)
This article makes a grave mistake in calling the Kitel a 'touristy' site. It is first & foremost a holy site, and the custom to give money to the poor before praying there contributes to a major part of its holiness. Begger 'gangs' take away from the individuals' experience there through their often insensitive hustling of visitors. However, the genuine poor should not have to suffer further due to the uglier side of begging. nor, should the many visitors who actually seek opportunities to donate alms to the poor be denied the chance at this holy spot. Allow a space to be set aside for beggers, and yes...encourage the giving of tzaddaka!
4. Light to all nations - Unconstitutional and cold hearted
Josh   (04.21.10)
poverty shall not pass from the land quit hardening you hearts. Make a begger area where there is high traffic so they have what they need and arrest beggars that aggressive harass or threaten tourists. But for pitty's sake don't forbid it. Tough times and a bad economy means more people will need this little kindness.
5. Bar those who won't work, not those who can't
Paqid Yirmeyahu ,   Ra'anana, Israel   (04.21.10)
Especially included among those who won't work are those feeding an addiction and Ultra-Orthodox "fund raisers," who are commanded as part of keeping Shabbat "six days you shall work." When they beg they are an embarrassment to Torah and the Kotel. Those legitimately in need, and passive, must not be hindered. Tourist appeal must not enter into the equation at all. It is the Kotel, not a Disney show. Those who visit the Kotel are typically religious. Religious Christians are keenly aware of the historical presence of beggars at the site and are there to see authenticity, not Disney. If they wanted Disney, they would have gone to Orlando. If the Kotel seeks to compete with Disney it will neither attract tourists who want to see Disney nor those who wish they could see the Kotel instead of a fake show at the site. Keep it real, just weed out the panhandlers, including Ultra-Orthodox. Paqid Yirmeyahu Paqid 16, The Netzarim, Ra'anana, Israel Israeli Torah-reverer (& Orthodox Jew) Advocate for Logic as Hermeneutic Halakhic Authority Welcoming All Torah-reverers (Jews & non-Jews)
6. #4
Bloue ,   Jerusalem   (04.21.10)
Josh, you're probably unfamiliar with the problem. The fact is, something like more than 80% of them are liars, and by the end of the day, they often have "gained" thousands of shekels... And most of all, there are dozens and dozens of them. But I nonetheless agree that a complete interdiction is not quite a good solution (not only because some are really in need, how can we forbade people from going to the kotel as long that it's not life-threatening ?). Still, a solution was badly needed.
7. Long overdue
soludo   (04.21.10)
This phenomenon, especially scammers playing rabbis is simply disgusting. This is a place of mourning and place of tourism. I wouldn't have panhandlers at a funeral, and they just give the country a bad image. Well done, and hopefully this whole thing will just end with that.
8. to #4 Josh Israel is socialist country
ghostq   (04.21.10)
meaning people get from the gov some basic services with work or without work, this isn't USA, those people don't want to work and get money. from what I heard they can make nice sum by harasing people, just to make them go away people give them money. these people job is begging. those r not people who worked and lost their jobs.
9. Oh, commentaries here shows REAL JEWS!
Brad ,   USA   (04.21.10)
What, you are Jews just because you fell off from Jewish womb? And that automatically makes you "holly"? This shows your real face and reason why the rest of the world hate you: you claim holiness, "alliance with Almighty", while simultaneously, without guilt or remorse, you commit despicable acts against the very laws you shield yourself with. Antisemitism is rooted in reality, it's just too painful for you to accept this!
10. YAY!! finally the Haredim are being kicked out!
Talula ,   Israel   (04.21.10)
11. "Let them get jobs"
Aviva ,   Jerusalem   (04.21.10)
As much as I dislike being swarmed by aggressive panhandlers who complain about small change, tell me exactly what kind of "jobs" these people are supposed to go out and get? They are mostly elderly and disabled. Although, how many of you who complain "let them get jobs" would actually offer work to an able-bodied beggar, moving furniture or some other manual labor? There was an elderly man who used to come and sweep out the stairwell of my building in Romema, then he would knock on the doors and the residents would pay him for keeping the public areas tidy.
12. Beggars
Moshe Rebenu ,   Calcutta   (04.21.10)
Those who give, have a responsibility to make sure that they are really giving to the needy, not to fraud artists. If handled carefully, this is a good idea. remember, the talmud reminds us that coins are round to remind us, that anyone can be needy at any time. That means you too!
13. We got to the Wall to pray for G-d's charity and kindness
Rachel ,   Rehovot   (04.21.10)
and then kick those out who are asking it of us. Sad that it has come to this. and Talula - we are all here trying to live and do our best. Not everything needs to be a haredi issue.
14. There is a special place in Hell ...
Jake ,   USA   (04.21.10)
... reserved for Brad USA (#9). Jews are the most charitable, hospitable people on Earth (Americans are a close 2nd). The last time I visited the Kotel, I brought my "ma'aser" money for the month, in the form of 50 shekel bills. When I gave out the first bill, a swarm of beggars came to get their share. The mishtara had to come and tell me to stop giving money. Next time I go to Israel, I'll find people in the Old City, and offer them food.
15. Is this not part of the business?
Atheist Turk ,   Germany   (04.21.10)
I paid 3 Shekel for a "God bless you!" at the Wailin Wall. But I do not believe in God. You can do good things to poor people by donating money, but not for this organized criminals.
16. personally,.....
Mattan ,   Citizen of the World   (04.21.10)
personally, i dont like to see beggars and unemployed people sitting around public areas at all in any country i go to. There should be a place organized for them or charities or government welfare programs in place so they dont bother the tourists.
17. "Money Money Money"
Beg to differ ,   USA   (04.21.10)
I have never been bothered by beggars outside in the Kotel Plaza. HOWEVER the Ultra Orthodox beggars inside the plaza nearest the wall impede peoples attempt to pray on a regular basis with no shame. Are they going to make them leave too? I doubt it.
18. Jesus
cristian ,   arg   (04.21.10)
the messiah taugh to see others as they are ourselves,we never know about the future and if we need someone to help us and in the present we refuse to help,everyone is gonna refuse to help each other and everything becomes a chaos as we are living nowadays,no one cares about others but we want others to take care about ourselves i think when we learn to see others as they are ourselves everything is gonna change because it doesn´t matter if we pray a lot but our spirit is evil when is gonna change the evil spirits of the people? i hate this evil world of hell and selfish people,it seems that no one cares about Jesus´teachings everyone prays just for themselves and the salvation is when everyone saves everyone not i only save myself and i do not care others,i just want messiah´s kingdom now!!!!
19. #17
J ,   Jerusalem   (04.21.10)
"HOWEVER the Ultra Orthodox beggars inside..." Be careful of stereotyping. I've seen many "Ultra-Orthodox" beggers, take off their gear after a hard days "work" begging at the Kosel. Not as Ultra-Orthodox as you think.
cristian ,   arg   (04.22.10)
the hosts of the evil and the wicked are all around yisrael to destroy it but yisrael´s got the rock of salvation,the strongest of yisrael,adonai tzvaot,the righteous messiah,the saint of yisrael,hashem´s servant to destroy all the accusers,the adversaries and the enemies because the torah comes from yisrael and the word of adonai from tzion.
21. first the women were arrested for praying at the wall, now
debra ,   usa   (04.22.10)
the beggars are being thrown out by the police monitoring who can pray and who can't. it appears the "real" jews are males with some money. only they are allowed at the wall without question. does Hashem agree with all this, i wonder?
22. to #18
Susan ,   Kfar Saba   (04.22.10)
You really know noghing about Jewish prayers. Why don't you pick up a Jewish prayer book and read the translation? Yes, we pray for personal things such as health and to earn an honest living, nothing wrong with that. We also pray for the well being of Jews everywhere and for the peace of the world. You read the anti-semetic NT and don't bother looking at the original sources. It is offensive to us when you spout such anti-semetic hatred. Furthermore, we don't care what Jesus said as we don't believe in him. Jewish people give lots of charity, we are just tired of being bombarded with beggers when we go to the Western Wall to pray.
23. to#18 One more thing.
Susan ,   Kfar Saba   (04.22.10)
In my shul in the US, as in many shuls, we pray for the United States and the president and congress. Do you do that in your church?
24. #18 get the first commandment right
Josh   (04.22.10)
25. #23 - It depends - They prayed for the Bushes...
Dorothy Friend ,   Tel Aviv   (04.22.10)
...but right now they are praying (well, some of them, anyway) for President Obama's death, and even using OT Psalms as their texts! :(
26. #14 Jake the generous
Lisa   (04.22.10)
the most generous? maybe- maybe not.... handing out lots of money just means you also have a lot to give- there are poor people in America too- how often do you go out and hand out 50 Dollar bills? I observe Americans in poor countries throwing money around- this is not generosity but stupididy. Beggars are a problem in other countries too- handing out large amounts of money encourages more begging. Better to get people off the street ( soup kitchens, hostels etc... maybe a work program?) . I can fully understand why people who want to pray do not appreciate being accosted by beggars constantly- beggars should respect people who pray and keep their distance. And another thing: this type of begging is fraud, - this sounds like a mafia type operation like the mom with 15 kids and a sick husband... it is what gypsies ( excuse me Roma) try to do in Barcelona etc..police presence is a deterrent..
27. to #24 you didn't answer my tb
ghostq   (04.22.10)
avoiding the truth I reckon, doesn't matter with nobama new reform plane this phenomena will spread across the usa, after all who needs to work or to pay health care when you can get it for free, fair warning some people will prefer low income to avoied tax paying and free health care that doesn't cover real deseases only if you got flue, that creat lazy people. which in the long run will harm the USA economy.
28. Disgraceful
Miss_X   (04.22.10)
Leave the poor alone. Let them beg. But no, you're more worried about the tourists. Shame on you.
29. To #19 Well Said.
USA   (04.22.10)
To #19, Well said. I apologize for comments that impuned all "ultra orthodox" as that was not my intention. I have just been so frustrated so many times while attempting to pray at the Wall being literally interrupted in the middle of my prayer by someone at least "dressed" like an ultra orthodox seeking charity. Some have tried to hussle me for a "rabbis blessing". If the Kotel is to be a place of prayer then this type of intrusion should not be allowed. But again, I do take your legitimate comment to heart. Too many talkbacks over generalize people groups. So thanks.
30. #26, I agree. I was 19 years old at the time..
Jake ,   USA   (04.22.10)
..and 50 shekels is worth a lot less than 50 dollars (even today:) I give 10% of my income to charity, in accordance with Jewish law. When I studied in Israel the year before, I remember seeing beggars who looked genuinely poor and hungry. At the time, I was only able to give them a few shekels, so I thought it would be nice to give them a few more since I was working, and I had more to give. I of course learned my lesson, and I understand why beggars are banned from the Kotel.
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