'Supreme Court not authorized to adjudicate Western Wall'

Rabbinate Legal Advisor to present opinion to Attorney General that Supreme Court unauthorized to consider petitions regarding Western Wall.

Hezki Baruch,

Women of the Wall
Women of the Wall
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

The Legal Advisor of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Mr. Harel Goldberg, will present on Friday to the Attorney General, Avihai Mandelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan an opinion on the subject of the Western Wall.

The Supreme Court is expected to discuss next week the Reform petitions that require the state to implement the Cabinet's decision regarding the Wall plan, or alternatively allow Reform worshipers to pray as they did without limitation in the existing plaza.

In a landmark opinion, Goldberg states that the High Court has no authority whatsoever to address such petitions and discuss their merits, in light of legislation explicitly denying them that authority.

The legislation from the British Mandate era is called the "King's Order-in-Council", which was the central legal document in Mandatory Israel, large parts of which have not been repealed, and are therefore in effect and binding until today.

"'King's Order-in-Council Number Three' explicitly denies the court authority to take positions on these issues," wrote Attorney Goldberg.

To read the full opinion in original Hebrew click here.

The opinion does not refer to the Western Wall plan, nor does it discuss the plan's merits. The opinion deals only with the authority of the Supreme Court to address petitions.

"The petitions in question deal with the right of petitioners to pray as they wish, their demand that a permanent prayer area be designated for them, and that they be allowed to use the Torah scrolls at the Western Wall," said Goldberg. "These claims relate to substantive rights found at the core of subjects that the Order-in-Council states that any decision concerning them, not be subject to the court".

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