'No Western Wall tour with Reform reps'

Israeli Rabbinate backs out of Knesset committee's tour of Western Wall after Reform movement says it will take part.

Hezki Baruch ,

Chief Rabbis of Israel
Chief Rabbis of Israel
Yonatan Sindel/FLASH90

The Israeli Rabbinate has nixed its planned participation in an event at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, slated for later this week.

While the Rabbinate had initially agreed to send a representative to the tour of the Western Wall plaza area planned by the Internal Affairs Committee of the Knesset, Israel’s top governmental religious authority backed out, when it was notified that the Reform movement would have formal representation.

In a letter from the offices of the Chief Rabbis to Moshe Dagan, director of the Rabbinate, the two Chief Rabbis suggested that given the sensitivity of the planned alterations to the Western Wall plaza, “It would be best if the Chief Rabbis personally gave their opinions on the matter to the Internal Affairs Committee, rather than through representatives.”

The plaza reform plan, adopted by the government in response to a ruling by the Supreme Court ordering that Reform prayer services be given a separate section at the holy site, has been challenged by the coalition’s religious partners, who say the move would violate the decades-old status quo in effect since the establishment of the Jewish state,, by giving official recognition of the Reform movement.

“The Honorable Chief Rabbis have already participated in tours of the Western Wall plaza, along with presenting their position on the issue,” the letter added.

The letter implied that given the involvement of the Reform movement in the tour, no Rabbinate representatives should take part.