Shas party lawmakers were criticized Monday after they introduced new legislation that would effectively ban non-Orthodox services at the Western Wall, Israel Hayom has learned.

One of the MKs who sponsored the bill defended it Monday, telling Israel Hayom that it was simply designed to “prevent various organizations from trying to change the site’s halachic status and creating friction and disorder.”

Women of the Wall, one of the groups advocating for pluralistic prayer at the site, condemned the new bill on Monday.

“This is the first step toward a halachic state; anyone who thinks this is limited to the Western Wall is wrong,” the organization told the Walla news website.