Today’s Knesset Law Committee was convened in order to deal with the Chief Rabbinate’s request to be legally represented independently rather than by the Attorney General as usual. The request is officially documented in a 13-page-document written by Rabbi Rephael Frank, Exec. Assistant to Chief Rabbi Lau*.
In the letter, the Chief Rabbinate’s position states:”Women of the Wall aren’t interested prayer, rather in advancing their feminist struggle…their goal is not to pray but to demonstrate and provoke.”
WoW Chairperson, Anat Hoffman: “The Chief Rabbinate which demands to be the determining authority here lacks good faith. The rabbis refuse to meet with women, and have refused to meet with Women of the Wall for 28 years. By doing so they have disqualified themselves from any rulings regarding WoW. Their bigoted assumptions about us are based on rumors and speculations. Every court system allows both sides to be heard, but the Chief Rabbinate refuses to hear women.
According to Attorney Riki Rosenberg-Shapira, Women of the Wall Board Member who participated in the discussion:
“The Chief Rabbinate tries to take over areas that were never used for prayer and are national assets to the Jewish people. The Rabbinate’s forceful conduct attempts to alienate women from their Judaism. This re-enforces the importance of the struggle for making religious services at the Western Wall available and accessible to women.
“At a time when everyone is working towards unity, it was embarrassing to see Rabbi Frank (Executive Assistant to Chief Rabbi Lau) quibbling about values whose whole purpose is to create separation and alienation. It isn’t surprising that Attorney Harel Goldberg, the Chief Rabbinate’s legal advisor refused to represent the Rabbinate in the hearing.
WoW appreciates the impressive turnout of Knesset members from various political parties who took a stand against the Chief Rabbinate. Their support will enable an equal prayer for women at the Kotel, a basic right in a Jewish Democratic society:
MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu) accused the Rabbinate of crumbling Israeli society by creating a state within a state.
MK Yehuda Glick (Likud) seems to support the Kotel Agreement stating the area discussed is one that isn’t used for worship and Jews of the Diaspora should have a place to worship.
MK Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) stated that the only reason the Rabbinate cares whether or not progressive Jews pray in the new section is hate, since the orthodox never worshiped there before.
Other MKs present: MK Merav Michaeli (Avoda), MK Anat Berko (Likud), and MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu), Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Heyehudi).