'Gender separation at the Kotel has existed since Temple times'

Rabbi of Kiryat Ono: 'The Kotel cannot be the scene of a battle to advance feminist ideology or recognition of the Reform Movement.'

Benny Tocker ,

Women of the Wall (File)
Women of the Wall (File)

Rabbi Doctor Ratzon Arusi, venerable member of the Chief Rabbinical Council of Israel and the Rabbi of Kiryat Ono, told Arutz Sheva that the Conversion Law is important and necessary, and explained why conversion by private bodies should be forbidden in Israel.

“We have a governmental rabbinate, therefore it is proper that marriage, divorce, conversion, and kashrut - everything be under one framework so that we can make sure everything is being done according to halakha (Jewish Law) and not in an unofficial manner. People who get married in unofficial courts without registration are prone to later get divorced without supervision and, God forbid, contribute to an increase in “mamzerut.” (The phenomenon of children born of relationships forbidden in Jewish Law. The marital options of these children are subject to limitations according to Jewish Law, ed.)

Rabbi Arusi praised the cancellation of the Kotel (Western Wall) Plan. “It’s true that the Kotel belongs to everyone, but the gender separation between men and women at the Kotel has existed since the time that the Holy Temple stood." (The Second Temple was destroyed byr Rome in 70 C.E., ed.)

“Therefore, the Reform also need to respect the customs of the site, just like we don’t cause harm to their customs and ‘temples.’ The Kotel cannot be the scene of a battle to advance feminist ideology or recognition of the Reform Movement. They need to look somewhere else; here, the customs must be respected.

Rabbi Arusi criticized the Reform Movement. “Everyone knows that the Reform erased ‘Zion’ from their prayer books. The fact that today they want to identify with the State of Israel - first they should return what they erased from the prayer book and say that they accept Zion as central for the Jewish People.”

“Before they start fighting over the Kotel, they should fight against the 80% assimilation rate on the other side of the ocean. They need to be dealing with the really important things,” he emphasized.