Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) met with Chief Rabbi David Lau today (Wednesday). Among other topics, the two discussed the furor surrounding designating part of the Kotel plaza for Reform ceremonies.
Ariel is an outspoken opponent of the Kotel agreement and is supported by his party mates Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. Rabbi Lau, for his part, strongly encouraged the haredi community to oppose the agreement.
According to sources familiar with the matter, the outline that includes official recognition for the Reform Movement has been frozen for the time being. The various sides are now looking to make a new bargain.
During today's meeting, Ariel stated that "The existing dialogue with the Chief Rabbi is important in order to ensure cooperation on issues of religion and state – especially regarding the opposition to establishing a Reform section of the Kotel."
In addition, the two discussed existing processes to ensure proper supervision in slaughterhouses and and abattoirs, in order to guarantee that there will not be any shortage of kosher meat during Passover. Both agreed that slaughtering teams will work during chol hamoed.
As for the Passover holiday itself, it was agreed that the Chief Rabbinate's kashrut branch will an assessment at the beginning of chol hamoed. Should there be a shortage of meat for the market, the Rabbinate would issue a permit to reinforce the slaughtering and supervising for an additional day. The agreement was made in order to ensure the timely availability of kosher and fresh meat in food chains, and to prevent unnecessary delays.
Rabbi Lau said, "The Chief Rabbinate will make every effort to prevent an increase to the cost of living. As soon as chol hamoed begins we will carry out an assessment. If we find there is a shortage in the market, we will immediately permit an extra day for slaughtering in order to prevent shortages and price increases."
Ariel closed by saying, "The People of Israel are celebrating Passover en masse, and we in the government have the responsibility of supplying high-quality food for the holiday in a timely manner and for reasonable prices. I am pleased that the Chief Rabbinate is committed to our effort to lower the cost of living and increase efforts during the holiday period."