PM set to approve construction of Western Wall egalitarian prayer space – report

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is predicted to convene on Sunday a particular committee so as to approve the construction of an egalitarian prayer space on the Western Wall, the Walla information website reported Thursday.

On Tuesday Netanyahu was appointed by the Knesset to head the committee after Culture Minister Miri Regev mentioned she was unable to approve the work, citing her conscience and “Jewish tradition,” and stepped down as committee chair.

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz was appointed to change Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on the committee.

Earlier this week Netanyahu tried to discover a volunteer to head the committee in Regev’s stead however was met with silence, a participant within the assembly informed Famzn News.

In response, a rankled Netanyahu mentioned: “I will deal with the Western Wall agreement myself.”

Culture Minister Miri Regev arrives on the weekly cupboard assembly on the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on July 1, 2018. (Ohad Zwigenberg/Pool)

The authentic determination to construct the pavilion dates again to January 31, 2016, when the federal government — spurred by many years of high-profile activism by the feminist prayer group Women of the Wall — permitted the so-called Western Wall compromise. Painstakingly negotiated since 2012 with leaders of liberal Judaism and different distinguished figures, it offered for the construction of a everlasting pluralistic space on the website of a presently present momentary one. Other key elements of the plan included a single entrance to the world to be shared with the Orthodox gender-segregated prayer plaza, and the institution of a board of pluralistic Jewry to oversee the mixed-gender space.

But on June 25, 2017, Netanyahu froze the compromise. While killing off the joint entrance and pluralistic governing board, nonetheless, he vowed to proceed with the construction of a everlasting platform.

Archaeological checks shut to the platform started in February 2018 by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is tasked by the federal government with overseeing new construction. But bureaucratic hurdles stay within the constructing course of.

In a potential rationalization for Likud ministers’ reluctance to take up the difficulty, some 100 Likud activists printed a letter on Sunday backing Regev’s rejection of the committee.

“We support the bold decision of Culture Minister Miri Regev to protect the sanctity of the Western Wall and to not allow the creation of a Reform plaza next to it,” learn the letter. “We stand with you in the struggle for the Western Wall,” they informed Regev.

On Wednesday, Regev wrote on Facebook that she couldn’t in good conscience agree to mixed-gender prayer on the Wall.

The Robinson’s Arch pluralistic prayer space is presently on a number of ranges, with a small platform that touches the Western Wall. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/ToI)

“In the past months I have been torn,” she mentioned. “My conscience would not let me rest. I could not approve the Western Wall plan in a manner that would upset the status quo. The Reform Movement’s demand to turn the Wall into a place where men and women pray together is unacceptable to me or to Jewish tradition. We did not return to our most sacred site in order to disgrace it,” she added.

Regev’s sentiments final week have been additionally in direct distinction to these said by her in Facebook posts in October 2013. Then, in response to police clashes with Women of the Wall, Regev wrote, “As chairwoman of the committee responsible for allowing every citizen to pray in the place that is holy to him, I will not stop to fight for the preparation of the Robinson’s Arch area for mixed prayer… I spoke with the Western Wall rabbi, and we will soon advance the issue of the Women of the Wall.”

Although again in 2016 the preliminary plan was warmly embraced by liberal and Diaspora Jewry, it was instantly met with controversy, as Israeli ultra-Orthodox politicians, who initially allowed the proposal to advance, responded to grassroots stress of their communities to step in and work to forestall its implementation.

The pluralist part, shaded in blue, will double in measurement to almost 10,000 sq. toes. The Orthodox part, shaded in purple, takes up some 21,500 sq. toes. The space in again of the Orthodox part is supposed for nationwide ceremonies. (JTA)

As a outcome, a number of Diaspora Jewish organizations took up the trigger of the pluralistic platform, which has turn out to be a level of elevated friction. The ongoing saga shortly reached the High Court, which has since held a number of hearings on the matter.

A remnant of a wall supporting the Second Temple advanced destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE, the Western Wall has been honored by Jews for hundreds of years. It is the holiest place the place Jews can pray as a result of of its proximity to the Temple Mount, and the holiest place in Judaism. The website is run by the Muslim Waqf and homes Islam’s third-holiest website, the Al-Aqsa mosque, and the Dome of the Rock.

The pluralistic pavilion is positioned within the Davidson Archaeological Park, in an space known as Robinson’s Arch. It is out of sight of the present mainstream Orthodox prayer plaza, separated from it by the ramp main up to the Mughrabi Gate, which is the one entrance for non-Muslims to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

If accomplished, the brand new everlasting pavilion will enormously enlarge the modest prayer deck, which has served liberal Jews since 2000. Likewise, it’s going to change the bigger momentary bleacher-like platform that was put up forward of the High Holy Days in 2013.

Raoul Wootliff and Amanda Borschel-Dan contributed to this report.

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