With summer coming, the northern Israeli city of Tiberias could be a dangerous place, says a well-known rabbinical figure in the city. Rabbi Dov Kook, according to video obtained by the Kikar Shabbat web site, recently made a speech in which he told followers to “run away” from the city, lest they be caught up in a coming tragedy – which is set to happen because of the immodest dress that pervades the city, he said.
“I am telling all religious people in Tiberias to boycott this city,” he told listeners at a recent speaking engagement. “It is not allowed to live here, I would like to say to the religious people here.”
At issue is a beach area that was formerly reserved for men and women on different days, but recently was made a “mixed” beach. The beach is opposite Tiberias's ancient Jewish cemetery, which has the remains of many rabbis, community leaders, and kabbalists, and has been in use for hundreds of years.
Tiberias, on the banks of Lake Kinneret, is one of Israel's most popular summer vacation destinations, and has dozens of hotels surrounding on the water. The hotel district roughly follows the contours of the ancient settlement of Tiberias, which dates back over 2,000 years.
Rabbi Kook suggested staying far away from the city, or at least the tourist areas near the beaches. “Whoever goes there is a sinner,” he said. “He will not have peace in his household. The souls in the cemetery are being forced to witness this immodesty. They are aware of what is happening and are terribly hurt. A terrible tragedy is coming to Tiberias, there is no sin which is worse than this immodesty,” he added.