JERUSALEM (JTA) — A large stone dislodged from egalitarian section of the Western Wall and crashed down on one of the platforms designated for mixed prayer.
The incident on Monday morning came less than a day after the prayer platform known as the Ezrat Yisrael near Robinson’s Arch at the southern end of the wall was filled with worshippers for the Fast of Tisha B’Av. One woman is seen praying at the wall several feet from where the stone fell in video footage of the area. She does not appear to have been hit.
The smaller of the section’s platforms, on which the stone fell, was closed until further notice. Experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority were called to the scene to examine the area.
“This is a wake-up call — we must check the entire Western Wall, both parts, so that heaven forbid there is no disaster in the future,” Yitzhar Hess, the head of the Masorti movement, tweeted, along with footage of the stone falling.
“The fact that such a powerful event took place after the fast of Tisha B’av, in which we mourned the destruction of our temple, raises questions which the human soul is too small to contain, and which demand cheshbon nefesh [accounting of the soul],” Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, the rabbi of the Western Wall, told the Jerusalem Post. “I thank the Almighty for preventing a major disaster.”
שֶׁגְּמָלַנִו כָּל טוּב. אסון כבר נמנע הבוקר בעזרת ישראל. אבן ניתקה מהכותל והתרסקה על מרפסת התפילה (הקטנה). אנשי רשות העתיקות מטפלים באירוע. עד להודעה חדשה המרפסת תיסגר, רחבת עזרת ישראל תפעל כרגיל. זהו אות השכמה-יש לבדוק את הכותל כולו,על שני חלקיו,כדי שחלילה לא יהיה אסון בעתיד. pic.twitter.com/UslGD0ubew— Yizhar Hess יזהר הס (@yizhar_hess) July 23, 2018