Who should decide how people pray at the Wailing Wall?
Prayers at the Wailing Wall
The struggles between the religious and non religious Jews is a serious problem. I don't know how it will ever be solved.
Basically there are two struggles, which some people tend to connect. But in my opinion these are two, separate struggles:
1. Who should decide on who is a Jew? The possibilities are as follows:
A. The orthodox rabbinate?
B. A joint committee of the orthodox and reform and conservative rabbinate.
C. The Government of Israel.
2. Who should decide how prayers should be conducted at the Waliling Wall (The Kotel)
As far as I'm concerned anyone who declares and demonstrates his loyalty to the State of Israel, should be granted citizenship, irrespective of religion, color or creed. It's true that Israel was established as a refuge for Jews who were being persecuted. That situation, in my opinion, has changed.
Although Jews are still persecuted they aren't in dire danger as they were in the days before a Jewish State.
Today the great danger facing Israel is the Arab nations near and far and in my opinion we are in a better position to deal with that problem, because the state no longer needs to be as active as it was in past in protecting Jews, we certainly don't need the law of return (the law that makes special provision to ease the way to citizenship for Jews).
The fact of a person being Jewish, is also no longer a guarantee that the person is loyal to Israel. This may have been the case in the past but our experience today shows overwhelmingly that this in no longer the case. Many Jews support the ideas of Israel's enemies near and far. However crazy that might seem, it is a fact.
Israel must take that fact into account and stop this policy of special favors for Jews. Every person who wants to become a citizen of Israel should be allowed to do so and should receive all the benefits and bear all the duties that citizenship entails, as long as he fulfills the conditions for citizenship.
As regards the Kotel. In my opinion ii is a holy site for the orthodox Jews and the state should have no say in how the Orthodox Jews run that place, just as the state doesn't interfere with any religious group in the way it conducts itself. If you want to worship at the Church you must abide by the rules of the church, the same applies to the Mosques etc. In my opinion the orthodox Jews have the right to forbid reform Jews from praying according to their customs at the kotel. This by the way, doesn't have any relevance to fixing their Jewishness.
The orthodox Jews, however are overstepping their bounds in insisting that they have the right to decide citizenship by deciding the Jewishness of a person who wants to become a citizen. Only the State should have the right to decide on citizenship and if it decides that being Jewish is one of the criteria for being a citizen then the state must retain the sole right to decide who is a Jew and not this or that religious group.
Wishing you a great day