Hundreds of rabbis sent a letter to Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked at the end of the week in which they expressed the position that the Justice Minister should preserve the Western Wall's sanctity and prevent establishing a Reform plaza in the area.
The rabbis' letter comes against the backdrop of the planned Ministerial Committee on Archaeological Sites meeting, which is supposed to approve the beginning of expansion work in the southern section of the Western Wall.
The committee, which includes the Religious Affairs and Culture Ministers, was scheduled to convene a few days ago to approve starting work, but Culture Minister Regev's refusal, despite harsh pressure from the Prime Minister, is preventing the committee from meeting. The Prime Minister is currently working to transfer Regev's powers to another cabinet minister.
At the beginning of their letter, the rabbis wrote to Shaked: "In the last few hours we learned that the Prime Minister intends Sunday to bring for cabinet decision the appointment of Ministerial Committee on Archaeological Sites Chairman to approve establishing a Reform plaza at the Western Wall. This would add insult to injury in the current situation where a place of prayer has been allocated to an anti-Zionist movement that undermines Israel's sanctity and encourages assimilation of our people.
"We appeal to you as member of the Ministerial Committee and support you to vigorously oppose approving building the plaza. It's clear to us that as a representative of the national camp charged with protecting the tradition of Israel and eternal Torah values, you won't lend a hand to desecrating the name of G-d and abandoning the remnant of our Temple to those who scorn and disgrace its holiness."
In conclusion the rabbis noted the symbolism of the date when the letter was sent: "On the eve of the seventeenth of Tammuz, the day the siege of Jerusalem began, the destruction from which we've been mourning for about two thousand years, this is the time to strengthen our physical and spiritual hold on Jerusalem and the Western Wall."
The letter was signed by about 300 rabbis, including Haifa hesder yeshiva head Rabbi Eliyahu Rahamim Zaini, Noam Zvia Network President Rabbi Eitan Eizman, Ramat Gan Yeshiva head Rabbi Ben Zion Algazi, Beit Yatir Rabbi Chaim Yerucham Samotritz, Shavei Hevron Yeshiva head Rabbi Chananel Etrog, Yeshivat HaKotel Head Rabbi Baruch Weidar, Av Beit Din Alon Shvut Rabbi Gidon Perl, Ro'eh Yisrael Rosh Yeshiva and Yishuv Yizhar Rabbi David Dudkevitch, Gush Katif Rabbi Rabbi Yigal Kaminetzky, Machon Puah head Rabbi Menachem Burstein, Yeshivat Ateret Yerushalayim head and Beit El Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, and hundreds of other rabbis.
"Hundreds of rabbis who joined within a few hours to a call to Ayelet Shaked to prevent establishment of a Reform plaza at the Western Wall attest to the clear position of all the rabbis of Israel," said Bezalel Zinni of the Joint Headquarters to Preserve the Sanctity of the Western Wall. "This call joins the opposition expressed by many rabbis, including the elders of religious Zionism, to the Western Wall plan and establishing Reform expansion over the past two years. We hope Minister Shaked will be faithful to the path of religious Zionism and the eternal values of the entire nation and won't allow establishment of a Reform Plaza at the Wall of our House of Life."