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Barkat: the Wailing Wall fell a stone weighing 100 pounds

Barkat: the Wailing Wall fell a stone weighing 100 pounds”

A picture taken on July 23, 2018, shows the massive stone block that dislodged from the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest worship site, falling down onto an egalitarian prayer platform in the Old City of Jerusalem.

"I didn't hear or feel anything until it landed right next to my feet", Goldberg told Reuters.

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich called it a most unusual event that hadn't happened in decades. The Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque are located above the Western Wall.

The smaller of the section's platforms, on which the stone fell, was closed until further notice.

After Monday's incident, police cordoned off the egalitarian area as Israel Antiquity Authority personnel arrived to evaluate the situation.

"A stone weighing about 100 kg fell near one of the believers, not hitting her",- said the mayor of Jerusalem NIR Barkat in a statement explaining the government's decision on the closure of the Shrine.

Feminist Jewish groups, like Women of the Wall, and liberal Jewish denominations, such as the Reform and Conservative movements, have long campaigned for greater equality at the holy site and a permanent place to pray.

But, he said, "I wish that everybody could have a builder who would construct such buildings that a stone falls out only after 2,000 years".

Mr Barkat visited the scene - a section where men and women are allowed to pray together - with the city engineer and safety officials, who declared the spot unsafe and closed it to the public pending further inspection.

Though a debate swirls around gender segregation at the Western Wall, a large portion of the wall closer to the Dung Gate, near the Robinson's Arch, is sectioned off for pluralistic use and is not regulated by Orthodox authorities. It is believed to be the only remaining part of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

A 2014 study by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem charted erosion in the different kinds of limestone that make up the Western Wall and said engineers were concerned about its stability.



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