Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared a tweet by Shas leader Arye Deri calling to block a pluralistic prayer service planned at the Western Wall on Friday morning.
The service, organized by Women of the Wall, is set for Rosh Hodesh Kislev, the first day of the new month on the Jewish calendar as the organization does every month.
In recent years, these services have been flashpoints for clashes with haredi protestors and police who have tried to block the women from bringing a Torah scroll into the women’s section at the Jewish holy site.
Deri, a long opponent of the group, wrote on Twitter that he and his fellow haredi MKs would be at the site on Friday to block the service from going ahead. Netanyahu, closely aligned with the ultra-Orthodox parties, shared the tweet.
מחר, יום שישי, ראש חודש כסליו, בשעה 7 בבוקר, אני ועשרות חברי כנסת נגיע להתפלל בכותל המערבי שריד בית מקדשנו. אני קורא לכל מי שקדושת הכותל חשובה לו להגיע ולהתפלל עמנו, כדי שחלילה המקום הקדוש לא יחולל.— אריה מכלוף דרעי (@ariyederi) November 4, 2021
In April, Labor MK and Reform leader Rabbi Gilad Kariv brought a Torah scroll to the Western Wall plaza in defiance of the site’s regulations. It was used in a Rosh Hodesh prayer service by the Women of the Wall.
Regulations at the Western Wall prohibit bringing in Torah scrolls to the site. Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, rabbi of the Western Wall and the Holy Sites, has banned the Women of the Wall from using Torah scrolls available for male prayer groups.As an MK, Kariv was able to bring a small Torah scroll for the Rosh Hodesh prayer service without Western Wall Heritage Foundation security personnel being able to prevent his entry or confiscate it due to his parliamentary immunity.
The Women of the Wall and the Reform and Masorti (Conservative) movements in Israel have fought a decades-long battle for prayer rights and access for their prayer services at the site.