Religious Affairs Minister David Azulai (Shas) and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) met on Tuesday to discuss the Women of the Wall (WoW), who despite being given an egalitarian area on the Western Wall are demanding a prayer space in the Western Wall Plaza.
"The reform Jews are a disaster to the nation of Israel," complained Azulai as quoted by Israel Hayom. "The Kotel (Western Wall) belongs to everyone, what the Women of the Wall are doing is a provocation."
"To come with a talit, tefilin and a Torah scroll isn't to come to pray, it's to come to cause a provocation," he said, noting the male prayer garb donned by members of the group in defiance of Jewish tradition.
WoW has also been revealed to be smuggling Torah scrolls into the Kotel plaza in breach of guidelines at the site, in a move severely harming the sensibilities of traditional Jews at the holy site. Orthodox Judaism limits Torah scrolls to the men's section of a synagogue given that the time-bound obligation to read from the Torah is incumbent upon them and not women, and consequently, women are deemed to be reciting the blessing in vain when reading the Torah aloud publicly as WoW insists on doing.
Bearing the Name of God in vain is a serious transgression in Jewish Law.
In the previous coalition government, then Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) directed funds and established a new non-Orthodox prayer section on the Western Wall just south of the plaza called Ezrat Yisrael, which was specifically intended for WoW and Reform as well as Conservative Jews to pray in manners not according to Jewish law.
In response to the meeting of Azulai and Shaked, WoW issued a statement saying, "we expect that Ayelet Shaked, like her predecessor in her role (Tzipi Livni – ed.), will clearly announce that she as a woman and as Justice Minister will not sign onto discriminatory regulations and will not give a hand to the exclusion of women at the Western Wall, or at any other place. The court has already ruled that regulations like this are unequal and illegal."
WoW's Chairperson Anat Hoffman in July 2013 wrote an article in the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism website entitled "support our rally to end the Chief Rabbinate." After casting various accusations, Hoffman concluded that "it is time to throw out the whole Rabbinate."