Former Shas head Yishai: Western Wall plan will see Reform Jews 'putting tefillin on dogs'

Former leader of Sephardic ultra-Orthodox party blasts cabinet decision to create egalitarian prayer space "an attack on the Holy of Holies."

February 4, 2016 12:22
1 minute read.
Western Wall

Pessah cleaning at Western Wall. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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Former Shas chairman Eli Yishai on Thursday sharply criticized the cabinet decision this week to upgrade and legally sanction an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall.

In an Army Radio interview, Yishai warned that the decision gives a foothold to the Reform Movement in Israel.

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He added that Reform Jews could use newfound power to perform interfaith weddings with priests. “This is a horrible disaster, and an attack on the Holy of Holies,” Yishai charged.

“The next thing we’ll see is [Reform Jews] putting tefillin on dogs and calling them up to the Torah.”

In a thinly veiled criticism of Interior Minister Arye Deri, his successor as head of the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox party, Yishai said that had the party’s mentor, the late rabbi Ovadia Yosef, still been alive he would have not permitted such a decision to be made.

This was not the first reference to dogs in criticism of the Western Wall decision by ultra-Orthodox politicians this week. Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) told the Knesset on Monday that the Women of the Wall should be “sent out to the dogs near Dung Gate,” the location of the designated egalitarian prayer site.

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