The bi-annual inspection of the stability of the Kosel stones took place Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation does a thorough inspection twice a year – prior to Pesach and prior to Rosh Hashanah. The inspection includes the Kosel’s stones, Wilson’s Arch covered area, and the wall of the Makhama building.
During the inspection, the stone courses of the Kosel are cleaned; debris brought by birds as well as loose stone particles, etc. are removed.
During Tuesday’s inspection, a greater than normal amount of stone and plaster particles were removed from between the stones, the foundation said.
The lower section of the Kosel which is composed of the Wall’s original stones, suffers from corrosion. This year, many “husks” were removed.
In order to solve this, the preservation experts soak the peeling stone in binding materials based on natural lime (the stone’s consolidation). This strengthens the layers and stops the peeling.
This was done under the supervision of Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and Holy Sites, in conjunction with the Israel Antiquities Authority. According to the foundation, “Halachic restrictions were strictly adhered to and the halachic permission was given by the Chief Rabbis of Israel and other rabbinical religious authorities.”
In addition to the inspection, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation is preparing for the traditional pre-Pesach note-removal process that will take place on Wednesday, 5 Nissan (10 April) at 10:00, during which notes will be removed from between the walls and treated as sacred objects.