MK Avi Maoz
MK Avi Maoz Knesset spokesman/Danny Shem-Tov

MK Avi Maoz, chairman of the Noam party, proposed his first Knesset bill that would prevent Reform and Conservative Jews from participating in prayer services at the Western Wall.

According to the proposed bill, the Holy Places Preservation Law would see two amendments added to it, along with a subsection defining, "religious desecration" at the site as "behavior contrary to the directives of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel."

This means all visitors to the Western Wall would be required to behave in accordance to Jewish law, negating a recent Supreme Court ruling with regards to permitted behaviors at Jewish holy sites.

The additional amendment would task Israel's Minister of Religious Affairs with enforcing the law. Following consultation with the Chief Rabbis of Israel, the Minister would "consult with other religious leaders connected to the matter at hand" to establish regulations regarding the measure's implementation.

The amendment would place Israel's chief rabbinate in charge of consultations with the Minister of Religious Affairs in cases of disputes regarding the State's holy sites.

Maoz's proposal has received strong opposition within the Reform movement. Rakefet Ginsberg, Director General of the umbrella organization of conservative Judaism in Israel, said: "We will not address the bill [at the moment] but express our deepest sorrow with MK Maoz choosing to further deepen the divide in Israeli society."

"Over the coming two days, we will mourn the victims [of Arab aggression], including those who liberated the Western Wall for the benefit of the entire Jewish people. We will rejoice and proclaim our independence - and commit ourselves to ensuring that Jews from all denominations of our faith can [continue participating in prayer] in a democratic and Jewish state," she added.

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