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VP Pence’s Visit On Hold – Kosel Rav Causes A Stir By Exceeding His Authority According To Some

The visit to Israel by US Vice President Mike Pence has been postponed for a second time, this time until January 2018, with the explanation his presence is required as the administration is pushing through its tax reform. It is reported to be a safety margin in the event the VP’s vote is needed. He was expected to leave for Egypt this Tuesday night and then from Cairo, to Israel but this has been canceled.

According to a Channel 10 News report aired on Monday evening 30 Kislev, Rav of the Kosel and Holy Sites Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz refused to approve a request for a press conference at the Kosel, with Channel 10 explaining Rabbi Rabinowitz feels such an event at the Kosel would be explosive at this time, due to the recent US Declaration recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

MK (Bayit Yehudi) Betzalel Smotrich used Twitter to respond, stating “if this is true, I call on PM Netanyahu to intervene, and to permit the press conference at the Kosel. With all due respect to the rav of the Kosel, and I have a great deal [of respect] for him, he is not supposed to decide matters such as these, matters of such large proportion”.

MK (Kulanu) Rachel Azariya attacked Rabbi Rabinowitz, saying, “Ferrari yes and the Vice President of the United States no?” She stated sarcastically, hinting at the case in which dozens of Ferrari vehicles were admitted to the Kosel compound with the rabbi’s approval not too long ago.

“The Kosel rav once again became confused as he believes the Kosel is his back yard. It is unacceptable that the rabbi makes such decisions alone, certainly not decisions that have political ramifications vis-à-vis the State of Israel’s foreign policy”.

The head of the Zehut party headed by Moshe Feiglin also responded, focusing on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, adding, “there is no kedusha in the actions of the rabbi of the holy sites. Only politics. Rabbi Rabinowitz, a man appointed without any tender by Yossi Beilin, although he never passed any rabbinic ordination exams by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, suddenly became something of a prime minister, something more powerful than both the chief rabbi and the pope, and he prohibits the vice president of the United States from speaking in the Plaza, in a place where there is no halachic religious sanctity, and prevents the fortification of Israel’s sovereignty over the Kosel.”

Feiglin adds, “Make no mistake, Rabinowitz is just Bibi’s puppet. Had Netanyahu been interested in statements by Vice President Pence, Rabinowitz would have been silent as a fish, not daring to endanger his position, and even if he spoke, no one would have been interested.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

7 Responses

  1. What a joke…claims that the Chief “Rav” of the Kosel has lied about having semicha?? This is the same bunch of clowns that tried to block the Galach-in-Chief from wearing his tzelem when he visited the kosel several years ago and has been making a mess of the entire WoW issue. At a minimum, the kosel should be off-limits for political events. If Pence wants to do a silent and respectful photo-op placing a kvitel in the wall like other visiting politicians do, thats fine but keep these Trumpkopf political rallies away from the kosel.

    This chanukah I came up with an idea which is developing over the last week. This is especially helpful if you want to light and can’t be around the entire night to watch the Menorah. I fill my glass cups with approximately 2/3 of water and top it off with oil. I was inspired by the way it is done in our home for the Shabbos Licht. Initially I thought to save oil. But then it dawned on me that the lights don’t need to be going all night and it allows me to go to sleep on time so I can be up for minyan the next morning. In past years I sat until 1am watching and waiting. Think about it and if works for you then try this on the last night of Chanukah!

  3. MK Smotrich stated on Twitter, “I call on PM Netanyahu to intervene and permit the press conference at the Kosel. With all due respect to the rav of the Kosel, and I have a great deal [of respect] for him, he is not supposed to decide matters such as these, matters of such large proportion”. End quote.
    Thus paskens Harav Hagaon Smotrich. Just some more of that ol’ time Dati Leumi ideology that empowers an am ha’aretz like Smotrich to decide what sort of questions a Talmid Chacham is qualified to pasken. He is good for answering sheilos about reciting kaddish on a yahrzeit. But, public issues (i.e., politics), even when there could be a safek sakanas nefashos — Netanyahu and Smotrich are equals to Rav Rabinowitz.
    As Chazal put it so eloquently, עפרא לפומיה.

  4. Since when does YWN publish criticism of choshuve Rabbonim from chiloni MKs – without even bothering to try to represent how the Rov’s would respond.

    It is really not so hard to be mechalek between ferrari and pence; it is laughable that a politician should accuse anyone of political motives, and cast aspersions on a Rov’s semicha; and it is strange and damaging that YWN is presenting these views, which give the impression that Rabbonim make decisions for ulterior motives and is a huge chilul Hashem

    Perhaps YWN stands for Yesh Atid World News? (If so perhaps the acronym should be revised to YAWN). Or maybe Yevonim World News

  5. Ysam,
    I would recommend you actually learn some halachah before you call someone am ha’aretz. The Kotel is no more than a bet kenesset. Kings and presidents have spoken in shuls throughout history. Tzarchei tzibbur may be done in the bet kenesset. In this case it is even more important as it is an important part of confirming that Yerushalayim is recognised universally as the capital of the country that belongs to the Jewish people. This recognition is unquestionably the Ratzon Hashem. We daven for this and more 3 times a day. What else do we mean by rivah rivenu?
    Besides, he probably was going to speak in the plaza behind the fence where the sinks are.
    And avoiding this for fear of violence actually encourages violence. If Arabs see we are afraid of terrorism and act less assertively about our possession of the holiest place in the world, where we plan to build the Beit HaMikdash, they will say that terrorism works and will be encouraged to do more of it r”l.
    Our gedolim, like R. Ovadya Yosef, have always said that security considerations should be decided by experts. A rav can only decide the halachah after knowing the facts. I highly doubt that the kotel rabbi made the decision after expert consideration of the situation. I doubt that he even spoke to a gadol about it.

  6. Feiglin didn’t say that he has no Semicha, rather not from the Rabbinate.
    RationalJew is correct about the halachic status of the Kosel. It may mean more to you, but it’s “just” a Shul. The area behind the Kosel…its Kedusha is described in the mishna.

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