Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau on Thursday called to cancel the new Western Wall agreement, which the Ministerial Committee for Holy Sites is expected to approve in the coming days.
A statement issued by Rabbi Lau's office read: "The Chief Rabbi believes that it is unthinkable that the site which has been considered holiest to the Jewish people for thousands of years will undergo changes which are not in accordance with Jewish law, and have not received approval of the chief rabbis."
In the statement, Rabbi Lau thanked Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) for opposing any change to the status quo and refusing to aid harming the Western Wall plaza. He also said that the Chief Rabbinate must remain the sole authority determining prayer arrangements at the Western Wall.
"The Chief Rabbi calls on all the ministers, Knesset members, and anyone to whom the heritage of the Jewish people's holiest site is important, to stand together and do everything possible to prevent any changes not in accordance with Jewish law and tradition from occurring in the Western Wall plaza. Committees will be created and disband, but the Western Wall, the remnant of our Holy Temple, will remain holy forever."
Outgoing Chairman of the Executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky responded, "The Western Wall is a central symbol, both religious and national, for every Jew in the world. The State of Israel, which was created to serve as a home for every Jew, must enable every Jewish individual to pray according to his or her preference and custom in a place that is so important to the entire nation."
"The arrangement known as the Western Wall agreement, formulated after extensive talks with all relevant parties and approved by the government, ensures that prayers held in the main section of the Western Wall will continue to be conducted according to the rules set by the Chief Rabbinate. It enables any Jew, of any denomination, to pray according to his or her preferred manner in the southern section of the wall, without altering the established practice in the main section."
He also slammed Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev for acting according to her conscience to protect the site's heritage.
"Minister Regev’s conscience is her own matter, but her public about-face regarding the need to set established prayer practices at the site is most regrettable," Sharansky said. "I hope the Prime Minister brings about the completion of the expanded prayer area known as Ezrat Yisrael, as he has repeatedly promised the Jewish people in Israel and abroad that he would."
On Sunday, the government will appoint Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as the new chairman for the Ministerial Committee, displacing Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud), who opposed the plan.