The Chief Rabbinate sharply attacked the Kosel arrangement and claimed that “the government’s decision to partition the Kosel is not valid.” This is what emerged Monday 25 Sivan from a letter sent by Rabbi David Lau’s senior assistant to the legal adviser of the Chief Rabbinate, attorney Harel Goldberg.
According to the letter, the position of the Chief Rabbinate is that the issue of the Kosel is “not justiciable,” but rather “a clear religious issue, in which the court has no means to decide.” According to them, “nobody has the authority to plan changes that have religious-halachic implications at the Kosel without consulting the Chief Rabbis and not in accordance with their recommendations.”
It was reported on Sunday that the heads of the chareidi parties submitted a compromise proposal to the prime minister according to which the outline for the Kosel would be canceled, but an egalitarian prayer area would nevertheless be allocated, at Robinson’s Arch near the Kosel.
The compromise was formulated by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and Finance Committee Chairman MK Moshe Gafni, in cooperation with the Kosel Rav Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz. However, a letter from Rabbi Lau’s senior assistant indicates that the rabbinate is unwilling to accept any compromise.
“The Kosel is not limited only to the northern square,” the letter emphasized. “The kedusha of the Kosel of Har Habayis applies throughout the entire length of the Kosel, including the Southern Prayer Plaza, which is mentioned in the government decision.
Rabbi Lau’s assistant asked Attorney Goldberg to act for the Chief Rabbinate’s independent representation before the High Court of Justice and to waive the representation of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, wishing to represent itself.
“With all due respect,” writes Rabbi Raphael Frank, “the Attorney General is not authorized to ‘consider’ the position of the Chief Rabbinate, the Chief Rabbinate is the authorized body in the state to decide halachic religious issues, and therefore the Attorney General must authorize the Rabbinate to properly represent itself”.
The Rabbinate believes that “the Chief Rabbinate is the supreme halachic authority in the country” and that the conduct of the Reform and Conservative movements in the area in question, which they claim is incompatible with Jewish law, only provokes “strong opposition among the public.”
According to Rabbi Frank, the mixed prayers and the many ceremonies of the Reform Movement “harm the feelings of the vast majority of mispallalim at the Kosel, provoke strife and controversy, and violate the rights of most of the public and leads to halachic problems, and therefore, prevents most of the tzibur from exercising freedom of religion at the Kosel.”
The letter also addresses Women of the Wall (WoW), citing “It is clear beyond any shadow of the doubt that tefilos of WoW leads to rioting, violates public order, harms public domain and leads to desecration of the holy site. It is clear they these ceremonies should not be permitted at the Kosel”.
The Rabbinate adds “WoW is uninterested in tefilos, but advancing its feminist agenda in halacha and religious society”. The letter continues “The goal is not to daven but to demonstration and cause rioting”.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)