Ultra-Orthodox MK suggests earthquake was due to Western Wall mixed prayer area

Lashing out at Reform and Conservative Jews, an ultra-Orthodox lawmaker stated Wednesday that a minor earthquake within the north of the nation might have been attributable to their ongoing efforts to construct a pluralistic prayer area on the Western Wall.

“Today we heard there was some sort of earthquake,” Shas party MK Yinon Azoulay instructed the Knesset plenum throughout a debate over the prayer area. “Perhaps we should consider that this earthquake was because someone is trying to get at what is holy to us.”

A collection of tremors early Wednesday morning shook the Haifa area and northern Israel. It was adopted by one other comparable quake of four.3 on the Richter scale later that evening.

An unique determination to construct an egalitarian 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 — authorised the so-called Western Wall compromise.

Although 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.

“They aren’t Jews,” Azoulay stated in a viscous tirade in opposition to the Reform and Conservative teams campaigning for the mixed prayer area. “What do you care about antiquities and the stones of the Kotel [Western Wall]? Take the money you are investing in the country and build yourselves a Western Wall in the United States.”

Members of the Reform motion an maintain Torah scrolls throughout a mixed women and men prayer on the public sq. in entrance of the Western Wall, in Jerusalem’s Old City, November 16, 2017. (Noam Rivkin Fenton)

The 2016 plan supplied for the development of a everlasting pluralistic area on the website of a at present present momentary one. Other key facets of the plan included a single entrance to the area to be shared with the Orthodox gender-segregated prayer plaza, and the institution of a board of pluralistic Jewry to oversee the mixed-gender area.

Under stress from his ultra-Orthodox coalition companions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze the compromise in June 2017. But whereas killing off the joint entrance and pluralistic governing board, he vowed to proceed with the development of a everlasting platform.

As a consequence, a number of Diaspora Jewish organizations took up the reason for the pluralistic platform, which has change into a level of elevated friction. The ongoing saga rapidly reached the High Court, which has since held a number of hearings on the matter.

Early Tuesday morning, the Knesset voted for Netanyahu to head a committee tasked to implement the egalitarian prayer area, changing Culture Minister Miri Regev.

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 due to its proximity to the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, which is run by the Muslim Waqf and homes Islam’s third-holiest website, the Al-Aqsa mosque, and the Dome of the Rock.

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