Some 100 haredim congregated at the Ramban Synagogue in Jerusalem's Old City on Sunday to pray that a proposed plan to divide the capital be canceled.
The prayer session, which drew mainly residents of the city's Jewish Quarter, was organized on the advice of Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, the leader of the Lithuanian haredi community in Israel and one of the generation's leading Torah authorities. Old City Chief Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzal and Rabbi Eliahu Medina, both followers of Elyashiv, conducted the prayer service, which was advertised under the banner, "They have Cast Lots for Jerusalem."
The prayer rally followed Vice Premier Haim Ramon's recent proposal to give up holy sites in the Old City and transfer the city's Arab neighborhoods to Palestinian control as part of the government's preparation for the Annapolis summit.
"I oppose the entire initiative because I worry about my and the residents' safety," Nebenzal told The Jerusalem Post Sunday. "We must hold on to the important parts of Jerusalem and not let enemies inside. This is a sacred place and no one has the right to give it up or to give away parts of it."
According to Efraim Holsberg, who organized the prayer rally, "We simply don't believe in the possibility that there will be peace in the area if it is under neutral sovereignty, as suggested. This is not a barometer for the public's reaction, but [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert's spin now that he is facing a criminal investigation, just as [former prime minister Ariel] Sharon formulated the disengagement from the Gaza Strip when he was under investigation."