A recent investigation by journalist Moshe Nussbaum of Channel 2 looked into the level of security at the entrances to the Western Wall Plaza on Shabbat and Jewish holidays in light of Haredi Jews who are strict about not passing through the special magnetometers that are meant for Shabbat.
The piece showed a man who dressed as a Haredi Jew and came in through a side entrance while wearing an explosive device. As a result of this, the police have been much stricter about the security checks these past few weeks and have been demanding that many people pass through the magnetometer.
These events led to many Haredi Jews lodging complaints with the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, as well as with MK and Deputy Education Minister Rabbi Meir Porush, and MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler.
Many years ago, following security concerns that arose, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation began working in conjunction with Tzomet Institute to install security gates with a special Shabbat mode based on a change in current without completing the cycle. These gates were approved by Rabbi Halberstam zzl, Rabbi Noibert zzl, Rabbi Nebenzahl, and Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites. In their approval they stated, We confirm that these gates installed to discover metals do not contain entail desecrating Shabbat. He who wants to be stringent can enter without having any metals on him.
Simultaneously, this week, Rabbi Efrati publicized Rabbi Elyashivs zzl, opinion as follows: For those who ask about Rabbi Elyashivs opinion regarding entering the Western Wall on the holy Sabbath after security authorities do not allow passing through and entering the Western Wall Plaza unless it is through the magnetometer, you should know that the Rabbi said one can enter on the holy Sabbath when there is no metal on the body of the person entering the Plaza.
It should be noted that entering with buckles, glasses, and a watch is like entering without metals, though one should take off ones streimel and the atara of the tallit.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation worked with the commander of the David police region, Commander Doron Turgeman, so manual checks will be an option for the stringent at the gates leading from Jewish Quarter, from Dung Gate, and Jaffa Gate, but excluding Damascus Gate. At crowded times, there may be a wait until the security guard can perform the manual check.
In accordance with the request by Rabbi Nebenzahl, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation is working with the police to look into the possibility of giving the security guards metal detectors made especially for Shabbat that work in a similar fashion of changing the current without activation via a change in vibrations sensed only by the security guard. This technology has been previously approved by Rabbi Noibert zzl, and even those who are stringent and do not want to pass in such a way that creates a change in the electric current, should be comfortable with this manual metal detector. The person being checked is not active and does not affect the check, but rather is passive and only the guard passes the detector near the body, thus he is not even assisting.
MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler held a tour at the Western Wall with the Committee for Public Complaints in order to examine additional possibilities that will answer the security needs without, G-d forbid, harming the holiness of the Sabbath.