MK Gilad Kariv helped the Women of the Wall this morning (Sunday) to bring a Torah scroll into the Western Wall plaza, contrary to the established procedures at the Western Wall.
Approximately twenty Women of the Wall arrived this morning at the Western Wall to hold Rosh Chodesh services, a special set of prayers said at the beginning of each Hebrew month. The group was joined, as mentioned, by MK Gilad Kariv, who invoked his legal immunity from search and seizure as an MK to bring a Torah scroll into the women's section of the Western Wall plaza. He refused repeated requests from ushers to desist.
A statement from the Western Wall Heritage Foundation addressed the incident: "The Foundation faces a complex challenge and makes tremendous efforts to enable the Rosh Chodesh prayer as normal, and calls for demonstrations to be kept away from the Western Wall plaza and to leave the place holy and unifying."
Kariv's entourage claimed on the other hand that he "gave the women of the Western Wall a Torah scroll in defiance of the illegal instruction of the Holy Places Commissioner Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz to prevent the introduction of Torah scrolls to the Western Wall plaza."
"The Western Wall belongs to all of us and not just to Netanyahu, the rabbi of the Western Wall and the haredi parties who destroyed the compromise reached for the area. The prayer this morning reminds us that the majority of the Israeli public is against the intention to establish by law a monopoly of the Chief Rabbinate over prayer at the Western Wall. One side supports the struggle to exclude women everywhere and the others are against discrimination and religious coercion," MK Kariv commented.
MK Rabbi Amichai Eliyahu said in response: "A member of Knesset who provokes and takes advantage of his parliamentary immunity, to bring in a Torah scroll contrary to the express position of the Ministry of Justice and the procedures at the Western Wall plaza is a new low point in an attempt to divide the public and harm the values that unite Israel. The Torah is sacred and Kariv uses it cynically and contemptuously to change the nature of the Western Wall."
"It is better that MK Kariv look for other places to cause provocations. The Western Wall is the unifying place of all parts of the Jewish people and it is better to leave it as such and not to stir up controversy. For years there was order in the Western Wall plaza until he and his friends arrived," Eliyahu said.
MK Meir Porush added: "The Reform rabbi is once again using his immunity as a member of the Knesset and to trample over the regulations of the rabbi of the Western Wall, while desecrating the Holy of Holies and the Torah scroll. It will soon be over."