Shmuel Rabinowitz, the chief rabbi of the Western Wall, issued a letter on Thursday saying
he had called on the ultra-Orthodox leadership not to organize protests at the
site for Friday’s scheduled Rosh Hodesh prayer service by the Women of the
The Jerusalem Post understands, however, that a decision was
already made earlier this week within the United Torah Judaism party not to
arrange any demonstrations.
For the last two WoW prayer services at the
site to mark the start of a new month, UTJ has been involved in providing
transportation for thousands of haredi school girls who have filled the women’s
section entirely, preventing the WoW prayer group from holding their service
WoW was forced on both occasions to pray well away from the actual
“Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinowitz appealed to
the rabbis and haredi leadership not to hold a mass demonstration in light of
the heightened security sensitivities on the Temple Mount, and especially in
light of the recommendations of the committee of the Prime Minister’s Office,
which is expected to give its opinion in the coming days,” Rabinowitz’s office
said in a statement to the press on Thursday.
The rabbi was referring to
several recent incidents involving attacks against Jewish visitors to the Temple
Mount and subsequent police activities there.
A small committee headed by
cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit has been reviewing options for non-Orthodox
prayer at the Western Wall but is yet to publish its recommendations.
the statement, Rabinowitz described WoW’s prayer service as a “provocation” and
said that the group was continuing with its actions “despite the solution
provided by [Religious Services] Minister Naftali Bennett at Robinson’s Arch,”
and thus was continuing with the “voices of argument at the Western
In August, a large platform designated for non-Orthodox prayer
service was constructed at the southern end of the Kotel, away from the main
plaza, in an area known as Robinson’s Arch.
While Reform and Conservative
groups cautiously welcomed the development, WoW’s members said they would not
pray there and would continue to hold their services at the main Western Wall
Police asked WoW to come without tefillin.
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!