Israel says it will expand space for non-Orthodox prayer at Western Wall despite freezing agreement
search

Israel says it will expand space for non-Orthodox prayer at Western Wall despite freezing agreement

Government says in court documents that $5 million needed to upgrade the space allocated, will take 10 months to complete

A group of American Conservative and Reform rabbis and the Women of the Wall movement members hold Torah scrolls during a protest march against the government’s failure to deliver a new prayer space, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City, November 2, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
A group of American Conservative and Reform rabbis and the Women of the Wall movement members hold Torah scrolls during a protest march against the government’s failure to deliver a new prayer space, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City, November 2, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The government of Israel told the nation’s Supreme Court that it plans to expand and upgrade a space for non-Orthodox prayer at the southern section of the Western Wall near Robinson’s Arch.

The government made the declaration in documents submitted to the court in response to a petition filed by the non-Orthodox Jewish movements and the Women of the Wall group that calls on the state to create the permanent space for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall.

Haaretz reported that the government also asked the court to dismiss the case, since it has frozen a January 2016 agreement that would have provided the permanent prayer space, equal access to the site from the Western Wall plaza and allowed the liberal groups to administer the area.

The Prime Minister’s Office already has allocated the more than $5 million needed to upgrade and improve the non-Orthodox prayer space, and said it will take 10 months to complete.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case on July 30.

“We are not buying the substitute Kotel Agreement that the State is trying to sell to the Supreme Court,” Anat Hoffman, chairperson of Women of the Wall, said in a statement issued after the documents were filed. “We hope that the Supreme Court will insist on our right to receive a prayer plaza in which we can pray according to our custom, whether by full implementation of the agreement, or by re-dividing the current prayer plaza into three sections: men’s, women’s and egalitarian.”

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments