Shnorrers Being Chased Away from Kosel


koselThe Western Wall Heritage Foundation and Israel Police have decided to make the fight against shnorrers at the Kosel more efficient and have distributed pictures of all the people forbidden entry to the site after asking for donations.

In recent years, the shnorrers phenomenon at the Kosel has reached massive proportions, with dozens of panhandlers roaming the site every day. In a bid to combat the growing trend, any shnorrer caught asking for tzedakah is forbidden entry to the site for a full month.

 However, in many cases, enforcement was ineffective and shnorrers made their way back into the Kosel area. Now, in a bid to make enforcement more streamlined and efficient, the company that operates security guards at the Kosel, Modi’in Ezrahi, distributed pictures of known shnorrers at all security stands to prevent them from infiltrating.

 “We stand nearly every day in front of the beggars’ pictures, so it is easy for us to spot them,” said one of the guards. “The pictures are right in front of our eyes, and we already know them by heart. Some people even dream about them from time to time.”

 According to the same guard, the pictures have already helped him block entry to a number of shnorrers banned from the Kosel.

 “Over all, these are pitiable people, but in order to allow the touristiest spot to be run peacefully, we need to prevent them from entering,” he said.

About a half a year ago, Yediot Yerushalayim revealed the method used by shnorrers working the Kosel. The system has been coined “the rabbi and the custodian.” This is how it works. One of the shnorrers adopts the roll of “the custodian” and brings tourists to another beggar, “the rabbi,” who is praying in a tallis. The tourists receive a bracha from “the rabbi.” The custodian then asks them for a donation for the bracha, badgering them until they give up their money.

 One of the shnorrers that Ynet caught up with this week at the Kosel said that a distinction must be made “between frauds who cling to people and don’t leave them alone until they give them money and people who collect money because they really don’t have any. There are a lot of people who fall between the cracks in the state infrastructure and can’t manage to finish out the month. The State can’t prevent good people from donating to them.

 “The commandment of charity is always mentioned in Jewish history, and it is a little bizarre that at the Kosel of all places collecting tzedakah is forbidden.”

{Yair Israel/Ynet}


  1. A bit of tzedakah before praying can only help carry the prayers to the right destination.

    “cling to people and don’t leave them alone” is understandable that they’re a nuisance, but all others should have the right to collect tzedakah at the Kotel.

    Tourist who have money to come to Israel, certainly have the few extra coins for tzedakah.

  2. I personally know Non-religious Jews that have left the kotel disgusted at the tzedaka collector, one saying he is collecting for others, one saying his family cant eat, one saying he needs money for surgery, all badgering until they get something.
    The Kotel is also a sight for Jews to be inspired by Judaism, not disgusted by Jews. If you want tzedaka to help your prayers a tzedaka box should be enough.

  3. next guy who sticks his hand in my face and yells “HACHNOSSAS KALLAH” while im davening shmoneh esrei is getting a punch in the gut.

  4. 3, Would this be during Barech Aleinu, or Shema Koleniu? 😉
    These people are desperate and this is their best chance, they can’t wait in the heat for when is convenient for each person.

    2, What are they getting disgusted about? Apparently not the poverty which leads to dumpster-searching in public.

    There has to be a better way, and I don’tr think the police are the ones who would look for it