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Deri Met with Rav Yitzchak Yosef Prior to Cabinet Decision on Egalitarian Prayer at the Kosel

yyoShas leader Aryeh Deri on erev Shabbos, 19 Shevat, met with Rishon L’Tzion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef Shlita to discuss the proposed arrangement for an egalitarian prayer area near the Kosel ahead of the cabinet discussion scheduled for Sunday, 21 Shevat.

Clearly Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other politicians involved in formulating the agreement did not see fit to consult with the Chief Rabbis of Israel prior to presenting the agreement to the cabinet, which approved it. In fact, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel or Kosel Rav Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz are not members of the council that will oversee the operation of the new prayer area.

Deri briefed the Sephardi Chief Rabbi regarding details of the plan as Rabbi Yosef was kept in the dark by the political community. According to a Kikar Shabbos report, among the matters discussed was the psak from Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZT”L when a senior American official wished to hold a bar mitzvah for a son at the Kosel, an event that was not in line with regulations for the holy site. Rav Yosef ruled against permitting the event, directing them to the southern area as an alternative to the actual Kosel and its plaza. This is more or less the area that was designated for the egalitarian prayers by the government.

Rav Yosef reportedly asked Deri to do what he can to avoid directly mentioning the Reform and Conservative Movements in the wording of the agreement, which Deri was successful in doing. It is reported there is no direct mention of either movement in the actual agreement or accompanying explanation.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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