A New Proposal: Creating a Public Council to Manage the Western Wall

A New Proposal: Creating a Public Council to Manage the Western Wall

Aliza Lavie: ‘The Western Wall belongs to the entire Jewish people, it is not private property.’



Yesh Atid’s Aliza Lavie is promoting a proposal aimed at regulating the management of the Western Wall. The proposal includes the creation of a public council, aimed at regulating the expansion of the Western Wall as well as its role in providing representation for the Jewish people in Israel as well as the Diaspora.

Last night, it was reported that during the official visit of Vice President Mike Pence, female journalists who came to report on the event were separated and sent to stand in a fenced compound without direct view to the event taking place. This is not the only incident and is part of a series of recent events, which includes a recent decision to allow a public relations event for Ferrari cars in the square, to erect a new partition in the middle of the night totaling 1 million shekel.

The purpose of this proposal is to ensure that decisions regarding broad management will reflect the range of voices in the public and that the decision-making process will be transparent. According to this proposal, a public council will be created to determine the order of prayers, visits, ceremonies and events at the Western Wall.

The composition of the proposed council will include the Chairman of the Jewish Agency, who will head the Council, the Government Secretary and the Directors General of the Ministries of Religious Affairs, Tourism, the Diaspora and Jerusalem. The Director General of the Antiquities Authority, public representatives appointed by the Prime Minister in conjunction with the Chief Rabbi (who represent the prayer worshipers) and representatives appointed by the Chairman of the Council, representing Diaspora Jewry.

This proposal was formulated along with the Torah and Work Movement.

Aliza Lavie’s comments: ”The Kotel (Western Wall) is a national site and a magnet for the entire Jewish people throughout the ages. It is forbidden to treat it as private property. This is not just about turning the Western Wall into a showcase for luxury cars, setting up a new partition in the middle of the night, or pushing female journalists into a corner, it is about who the Western Wall belongs to and how decisions are made. Of course, this has specific implications for the special status of the Western Wall, more recently those implications have become decidedly more political. The proposal is intended to ensure that the Wall will be managed on behalf of and for the public, women and men, Jews in Israel and the Diaspora – without any exceptions.’’

Tehila Friedman, Chairwoman of the Torah and Work movement stated: ‘The Western Wall is not a shtibl of the Western Wall Rabbi but a national site, sacred to the entire Jewish people. The riots during the visit of the US Vice President and the scenario with the Ferrari cars provide just two of many incidents, which can be used as examples, to show that the Western Wall has been administrated in a non-state, inappropriate and failed manner. This in turn, causes damage to the state, exacerbates the rift with Diaspora Jewry and even desecrates the name. The proposal that has been initiated, together with MK Lavie will allow for a clear and direct state administration and return the Western Wall to the Jewish people and will put an end to these never-ending dilemmas.


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