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There are various pictures pre-dating the 1967 Six Day War, available on the Internet and in various scholarly sources, clearly showing free mixing among the genders at the Kotel (Western Wall) in the midst of prayers without any mechitza. (It's possible that they never had any formal minyanim there, but that seems unlikely). Are there any halachic authorities which relate to these practices at the Kotel?

Here's are some examples:

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It might be related to lack of control. The street in the pictures is a public street IIRC (not many cars though). I doubt the members of the yishuv had enough power in the Ottoman government to get a mechitza set up. –  Double AA Jan 31 '12 at 16:56
    
@DoubleAA true, but one possible response to that would be a ban on men praying there if women are present. But that didn't happen, apparently. –  Monica Cellio Jan 31 '12 at 17:10
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While there is no mechitzah, if you look closely you will see that they did separate by gender. –  avi Jan 31 '12 at 20:40
    
Actually, the mechitza was built in the 1920s. –  Shimon bM May 8 '13 at 21:07
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1 Answer 1

According to ד"ר יוסף נדבה there was a Mechitza up until 5689 (1928) when it was removed by the British authorities.

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It says it was on Yom Kippur of 5689 which is 1928 by my count. –  Double AA Jan 31 '12 at 17:41
    
Also, based on en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1929_Palestine_riots , it seems the mechitza was a temporary structure for special occasions, there being a longstanding Ottoman ban on construction at the Kotel. –  Double AA Jan 31 '12 at 17:43
    
Thanks for the information. As per my question, I'm particularly interested in what they did during the period when there wasn't a mechitza. Any ideas? –  ChaimKut Sep 15 '12 at 23:37
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