The Western Wall (Kotel)
The Western Wall (Kotel)Flash 90

The Knesset approved by a majority of 48 in favor the transfer of powers in the committee dealing with the Western Wall from Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev (Likud) to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and the authority of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) to Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud).

The purpose of the changes is to allow for construction to expand a mixed gender prayer plaza along the southern part of the Western Wall, known as “Ezrat Yisrael.”

MK Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) objected to the move in the Knesset. There were no abstentions.

While cabinet ministers and haredi Knesset members oppose the plan at the Western Wall, it is expected to pass by a majority. This is in view of the fact that the haredi factions are not expected to create a coalition crisis if the plan is coordinated with the Chief Rabbinate.

Yesterday, MK Smotrich sent an urgent letter to the attorney general asking him to prevent the proposal to transfer authority from Regev and Shaked in the ministerial committee established under the Antiquities Law from being brought for approval in the Knesset.

In his letter, Smotrich said that the government's decision to transfer the powers is illegal.

"The transfer of powers of the ministers, the members of the committee under the Antiquities Law, was done without authority, is illegal, and therefore null and void," Smotrich wrote.

"There is no legal way to transfer the powers of a ministerial committee set up by law, or of ministers who are members of it, to the government, including the prime minister or another minister," Smotrich said. “Is it conceivable that the defense minister could stay in his office while seeking through a government decision to transfer his authority over the IDF to another minister? Clearly it is not. In the same way, ministers cannot transfer powers granted to them by law to other ministers.”