Jerusalem’s Western Wall has been declared off limits to the faithful on the holiest day of the week because of security cameras that are blamed for desecrating the Sabbath.
Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, a 100-year-old rabbinical authority widely revered among ultra-Orthodox Jews, said the trouble at Judaism’s holiest prayer site is with the technology.
Devout Jews strictly adhere to the biblical commandment to refrain from work on the Sabbath.
Mr Eliashiv said those coming into view of the closed-circuit surveillance cameras activate a light inside the devices, violating the Jewish prohibition on operating electronics on the Sabbath.
He said Jews should not visit the site, Israel’s most-visited, on the Sabbath until the technology has proper rabbinic supervision.
The rabbi overseeing the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, said he and the Jerusalem police were working to fix the problem.
A police spokesman said if rabbinical authorities propose a technological solution, “we will happily consider it.”
The Western Wall, located in Jerusalem’s Old City, is a retaining wall of the compound where the biblical temples stood 2,000 years ago.
Jews and tourists pray in front of the outdoor site and stick small prayer notes between the stones of the wall.