Jailing anybody over a thoughtcrime at the Western Wall will only damage Israel's image
The Shas party is pushing forward with a proposal that would make it illegal to hold pluralistic prayer services at the Western Wall plaza, calling for the bill to face a ministerial vote as early as Sunday.I have no doubt Shas' reps have nothing but contempt for Ayaan Hirsi Ali to boot.
The proposed law would impose penalties of six months’ imprisonment or a fine of NIS 10,000 ($2,600) on anyone who holds a mixed-gender service or women’s Torah readings, and women who don a prayer shawl or phylacteries, at any area of the Western Wall, even those that had not been traditionally set aside for prayer.
In its description of the bill, the ultra-Orthodox party said it was meant to prevent actions, including “religious ceremonies,” that “do not fit the custom of the place, which would offend the congregation that prays there.”
Shas has asked for the bill to face a vote at Sunday’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation, which decides government policy on legislative proposals and could guarantee coalition support for the measure. The party is said to expect other coalition members to support the bill.Do I sense that they'd rather not have supported those particular laws? All they're doing is making it clearer than ever that they're not doing this literally for Orthodox adherents in their entirety, but rather, for the Haredis. In which case, why should we support them over something so questionable and overwrought?
“We supported an increased tax on third homes, banning the muezzin call and other laws because it was important to our coalition partners. We expect them to support this even if it’s not their preference,” a party source told the Walla news site.
The proposal would define the entire area as a holy site governed under the same definitions of religious practice and law set by Israel’s rabbinic courts and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Prayer services would thus be limited solely to state-approved Orthodox practice.Oh, so more advocacy of combining religion and state, rather than separation thereof.
According to the opinion written by the rabbinate’s chief legal adviser Harel Goldberg, the courts are prevented from making decision pertaining to “holy sites” based on a British Mandate law dating to 1922. Goldberg claims that the law is still legally binding given that it was never nullified by Knesset legislation.Let's hope. Shas is one Haredi movement that's proven they have nothing but contempt for democratic values, and they went right along with the Labor party and basically supported the Oslo agreement in 1993. So there's not much value to put on what they advocate. What's fascinating is the suggestion they actually condone the British Mandate, despite all the harm the UK ultimately did to the country as a result.
Despite gaining support from a number of Likud and Jewish Home MKs, the Shas proposal on the Western Wall is likely to be opposed by Netanyahu and Jewish Home chair Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who back the 2015 compromise, as well as religiously liberal ministers and lawmakers in the coalition, including in the Kulanu and Yisrael Beytenu factions. It is thought to stand little chance of making it into law.
Worst, what they're pushing for is an insult to any non-Orthodox congregations who already had the terrible experience this one did. Tragically, Aryeh Deri and company will surely never apologize for what they've been up to, not even the Oslo accords enabling.