Shas Proposes New Kosel Law

(Sebi Berens/Flash90)
(Sebi Berens/Flash90)

Shas has introduced a bill in the Knesset to clearly define the sanctity of the Kosel in Israeli law, aimed at putting an end to the bitter wrangling over use of the site for non-traditional groups.

The “Regulation Act,” proposed by the Shas party, would declare the Kosel a “holy area,” and put it under the jurisdiction of the Rabbinical Courts and the Chief Rabbinate, according to Arutz Sheva on Monday night.

The bill states that “the protection of holy sites was regulated by law in 1981. However, until today, 50 years after the liberation of the Kosel, there is still no specific regulation protecting the special holiness of the Kosel. This proposed law would regulate the arrangement of prayer services in the Kosel plaza and preserve the sacred status of the area.”

The legislation clearly delineates behavior that would be forbidden in the area, including desecration of Shabbos and ceremonies offensive to religious sensibilities — such as women reading Torah, blowing shofar, and wearing tallis and tefillin — and would require a mechitzah as well.

The minister for religious affairs would be responsible for the implementation of the law.

The Shas MKs who are sponsoring the bill stated that “the law is essential to establish order at the holiest place for the Jewish people and to regulate its halachic status. It cannot be that the place from which the Divine Presence has not moved and after which the Jewish people have longed these many generations should be the site of humiliating conflicts. We have no doubt that this bill faithfully reflects the overwhelming majority of the Israeli public and will return the Kosel to its proper holy and honored status.”