'What the US President understood, our President does not'

Deputy Education Minister blasts President Rivlin's remarks calling rabbinical leaders 'Beit Shammai' for calling to shelve Kotel Plan.

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Michal Levi,

Meir Porush
Meir Porush
Hezki Ezra

Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (UTJ) attacked President Reuven Rivlin Tueday morning, after he called rabbinical leaders who called to shelve the Western Wall Plan “a nucleus acting in the ways of Beit Shammai.”

At the Makor Rishon newspaper's conference in Tel Aviv on Monday evening, Rivlin said, “I regret that a process that was conducted in the ways of Beit Hillel was thwarted by a nucleus that acted in the ways of Beit Shammai. It was a courageous process that the Government was wise to lead, that could have strengthened the Jewish people had it been implemented. Over time, we will not be able to escape from returning to the table, to responsibly and with consideration arrive at an understanding on the issue of the Western Wall.”

According to Porush, Rivlin refuses to understand something which US President Trump understood on his visit to the Western Wall. “It is unfortunate that what the non-Jewish American President understood during his visit to the Kotel last month, the Israeli Jewish President doesn’t understand,” Porush told Hamevaser.

In addition, Hamevaser cited Torah figures who protested Rivlin’s words. “How dare the President of the State of Israel open his mouth against the great rabbis of Israel, even adding insult to injury by involving ‘Beit Hillel’ and ‘Beit Shammai,’ on whom the whole house of Israel rests - and he is in no position to say anything about their ways and holiness,” they said.

“Even without these serious matters, the repeated intervention of the President in public issues to be dealt with only by the Knesset and government is, in and of itself, a serious and invalid act,” they said. “Elected representatives are charged with dealing with these issues, not the President, who is supposed to unite the nation, and certainly not inflame passions unnecessarily and agitate hundreds of thousands of Jews who are now hurting from the severe blow to the great rabbis of Israel.”

“It would be fitting for Rivlin to take back his severe and hurtful words and ask for forgiveness from the great rabbis who called to cancel the Western Wall Plan out of deep awe for the holiness of the Kotel, to save it from a group without any connection to Judaism requesting to deface its holiness,” they ended.