Western Wall and Holy Sites Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz is being accused by the Eda Haredit faction of damaging the site's sanctity by opening it to the wide public, including the Women of the Wall
According to members of the extreme Jewish Orthodox faction, had Rabinowitz excluded the women from the site completely to begin with, they would not be seeking equal treatment and the "evil regime" would not be intervening in their favor.
The harsh attack against the Western Wall rabbi was published in the "Ha'eda" journal after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
instructed Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky to look into ways to ease restrictions
on women and non-Orthodox visitors who feel excluded from the holy site, and to submit his recommendations to the government after the Knesset elections.
Last week, the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, women's organizations and various pluralistic movements filed a petition with the High Court of Justice
on against the prime minister and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.
The groups are demanding that seculars, Reform Jews and women be given equal representation in the management of the Western Wall, and are asking the court to remove the control of the holy site from the hands of the Western Wall rabbi.
The Eda Haredit article stated that "under the burden of the Zionist occupation," the Western Wall has turned into "an entertainment center, Heaven forbid, which attracts gentiles and hookers who arrive to corrupt this place of Divine presence, Heaven forbid."
The State was accused of insisting on having "every gentile head of state" visit the site and holding "different shows" on the site, like "the swearing in of soldiers of the impious army."
Women praying at Western Wall (Photo: Dudi Vaaknin)
In the current situation, Eda Haredit argued, "it's no wonder that all kinds of reformists are drawn to the place, asking to hold their prayer ceremonies on the site with a mixture of men and women, Heaven forbid, and in a provocative chaos in which women wear prayer shawls and approach the (prayer) pillar (to serve as cantors), etc, Heaven forbid."
The article implied that these groups are right in their demand for equal treatment, and that the person to blame is the Western Wall rabbi, who created the loophole.
"The reformists were amazed by the brutal behavior against them," the extreme faction wrote. "Why can any adulterer and abuser hold a ceremony in the Western Wall, while their forbidden and repulsive ceremonies cannot be held there?"
The title of rabbi was attached to Rabinowitz in quotation marks in the article, and it was claimed that he was "parachuted into the job by the government to take over other holy places in the Holy Land as well."
Eda Haredit concluded by saying that this case proved that the Western Wall and similar sites were being ruined in the hands of "leaders of the evil regime."