In a letter sent to Minister of Religious Services (Shas) David Azoulai on Tuesday, 27 Tammuz, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel is calling for a total and unequivocal ban on Reform and Conservative prayer at the Kosel and the adjoining plaza.
The document, which was first published by the news columnist Yair Shariki, revealed that the rabbinate sought to promote a law that would prevent the non-Orthodox streams from praying in the southern square allocated to them to date.
“The Chief Rabbis,” wrote Rabbi Raphael Frank, secretary of the Rabbinical Council, “are absolutely opposed to the actual partition of the Kosel, the Kosel that operated according to halacha and Jewish tradition for generations, and to the Kosel of which boundaries will not be breached.” In addition, the rabbis demanded that “limit religious ceremonies at the Kosel to those conducted exclusively according to the customs of the venue and Jewish tradition, and according to the words of the Chief Rabbis of Israel.
“We are referring to the plaza called Ezrat Yisrael, located in the Robinson Arch area, which was allocated to those who wish to hold mixed prayers between men and women. Until now, the debate has been centered on the intention to renovate the southern plaza for those who come to the site, while the new demand of the Chief Rabbinate is to prevent any other footholds from the Kosel.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)