Kosel to Remain Open During Pope’s Visit


koselDespite initial reports and concerns that the Kosel would be closed during the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Israel, the Shin Bet and Israeli Police has announced that the Kosel will not be closed to Yidden during the visit, primarily due to a request from the rov of the Kosel, Rav Shmuel Rabinovitch. The two security agencies had originally said that the Kosel would have to be closed to ensure security in the area, a decision that caused outrage amongst many. The Kosel would have remained closed from the evening prior to the visit.

The Pope is scheduled to visit the Kosel on Lag Ba’omer, Tuesday, May 12. The visit will begin at 9:45 a.m.

The 82-year-old Pope will first visit the mosque on the Har Habayis, meeting with the Grand Mufti there. He will then visit the Kosel and head from there to meet with Sefardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger at Heichal Shlomo. 

The Kosel plaza will remain open prior to the Pope’s visit, but in the morning, mispallelim will be told to go to the area at the side of the Kosel. Shaar Ha’ashpa will remain open, but motorists will be detoured to Rechov Chagai.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}