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Tisha B’av Observance Marred by Rush to Western Wall Excavation Site

Observance of Tisha B’ av at the Wailing Wall was marred yesterday when hundreds of people broke into the excavation digging area adjoining the Wall, spoiling several objects found at the site. No reason was given for the incident.

One of the diggers said that the work of months of digging was destroyed. He tried to call the police to save what was left. The day before, as a result of an agreement between the Minister of Religious Affairs Dr. Zerah Warhaftig and Deputy Premier Yigal Allon, prayer was permitted near the newly-cleared portion of the Wall, while special guards were placed by the Religious Ministry to prevent entrance to the excavation enclosure. The guards were unable to keep the people from invading the digging site. They were finally cleared when police persuaded them to disperse. Prof. Benjamin Mazer, who heads the excavation, called the destruction “a shameful incident.”