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British Police Interfere with Jewish Worship at Wailing Wall, Yom Kippur

September 26, 1928
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

Palestine Jewry felt highly indignant today as the news spread throughout the country that in the midst of the Yom Kippur prayers before the Western Wall of the Temple, commonly known as the Wailing Wall, the British police of Jerusalem appeared at the Wall and interfered with the services.

Several persons were hurt, including an American Jewish woman, when the worshippers withstood the attempt of Police Inspector Duff, on duty at the Wailing Wall, to remove the screen put up for the services so as to separate the men and women worshippers in accordance with Jewish custom. The congregation assembled before the Wall, a thousand strong, protested against the unexplainable order and clung tenaciously to the screen, as it was forcibly removed. The screen was torn. The interference caused great excitement and the news spread rapidly throughout the Holy City.

Dr. Judah L. Magnes, formerly Rabbi of Temple Emanu-El, New York City, and now Chancellor of the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, and Mr. Ben Zvi, labor leader, visited the District Commissioner of Jerusalem, Keith Roach, asking for an explanation of the interference. The Commissioner declared that the police acted at his order, because “the arrangements to convert the Wailing Wall into a synagogue is in contradiction to an existing agreement.”

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency correspondent learns that the attempt to remove the scren was due to the protest of the Moslem Supreme Council, a religious body which looks askance at Jewish access to the sacred wall.

Col. Frederick H. Kisch, political representative of the Zionist Executive in Jerusalem, called on the Acting High Commissioner H. C. Luke, Monday evening after sunset and lodged a formal protest against the action of the police. The Acting High Commissioner promised to order an inquiry upon receipt of a report from the District Commissioner.

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