President Isaac Herzog on Thursday night urged MKs Gilad Kariv (Labor) and Alon Tal (Blue and White) not to arrive at the Western Wall for Rosh Chodesh (first day of the Jewish month) prayers on Friday morning, as they had planned on doing, "in order to prevent unnecessary fighting and baseless hatred between elected officials in front of the remains of our Holy Temple."
The two MKs have agreed to the President’s request.
The President also informed MK Kariv that, at the same time, he has instructed the Director-general of President's Residence, Eyal Shviki, to start talks next week with all parties involved on the issue of prayer at the Western Wall plaza, in order to hear their positions and try to find possible solutions to the crisis.
MK Kariv said, "Thank you to President Herzog for his willingness to push for a solution to this long-standing dispute. I will continue to stand by the Women of the Wall, and work to implement the plan for prayers at the Western Wall. This outline is in line with the values of the coalition and the government which seek to bring about an end to the divisions in Israeli society and the Jewish people."
United Torah Judaism chairman MK Moshe Gafni said, "Since Gilad Kariv used his parliamentary immunity to undermine the status quo at the Western Wall, and since he announced that he would not be coming tomorrow, our arrival [at the compound] on Rosh Chodesh is unnecessary. We will continue to physically preserve the sanctity of the Western Wall."
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri said, "I thank President Isaac Herzog for his efforts to preserve the sanctity of the Western Wall - a remnant of our Holy Temple. On the eve of Rosh Chodesh Kislev, on which the Jewish people mark the victory of light over darkness, Shas will continue to fight with all its might against those who seek to desecrate the sanctity of the Western Wall, and to harm the Jewish identity of the state."
Earlier, haredi and religious Knesset members announced that they intend to block the entry of a Torah scroll by the Women of the Wall organization into the Western Wall plaza, after in recent months Kariv used his parliamentary immunity to bring a scroll to the plaza for use by egalitarian groups.
Following the announcement, the director general of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation wrote to the Jerusalem District Commander, Superintendent Doron Turgeman, that "the Women of the Wall intend to intensify their actions in their struggle in the open, headed by MK Gilad Kariv, who uses his immunity."
"On the other hand," he added, "many Knesset members also intend to use their parliamentary immunity in order to physically block the procession of Women of the Wall."
He continued, "The Western Wall Heritage Foundation cannot be at odds between Knesset members and the thousands who come to demonstrations in the Western Wall plaza."
As such, he said, the Foundation is not responsible for maintaining order in the plaza.