The true headline to this story should read “Major Chilul Hashem at the Kosel while chareidi Jewry remains silent”.
The visiting Reform Movement delegation, which include 100 “rabbis” was part of the festive “shachris prayer service” at “Ezrat Yisrael” on Thursday morning 16 Adar-I. This is the name they have given to the egalitarian prayer area near the Kosel and on Thursday morning they took part in a thanksgiving service following a number of significant political gains in Israel. Members of the Conservative Movement and leaders of the Women of the Wall (WoW) organization were also present for the mixed gender service.
Many members of the frum tzibur in Eretz Yisrael believe the writing was on the wall and now, chareidi officials exhibit shock and anger, as if this was not the predictable outcome of their actions.
There is anger directed at chareidi Members of Knesset, who many feel are responsible for remaining passive and permitting this to come about and while gedolei yisrael will dictate the actions of elected officials, there is an increasingly audible call for the frum parties to break away from the coalition and bring down the government in response to magnitude of the Chilul Hashem associated with recent rulings in favor of non-Orthodox practices.
It is also pointed out that while the MKs explain they are backed by gedolei yisrael, each referring to the rabbonim shlita who instruct the various parties and factions, many among the frum tzibur feel the picture painted for the gedolim by the MKs is a tainted one, one that is slanted to direct a response in favor of supporting their position and not necessarily an objective one that depicts reality.
Chareidi elected officials explained that the reasoning behind permitting the allocation of the egalitarian prayer area that the Supreme Court would have handed down a more difficult gezeira, a mixed area at the Kosel itself. However, many feel this is not acceptable for in that case the court would be responsible for the Chilul Hashem while in this case the religious parties are all a part of the Chilul Hashem that took place Thursday morning and will continue R”L at the Ezrat Yisrael site.
The bottom line is that at present, it is most unlikely the chareidi parties will cause a coalition crisis.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)