Government tells High Court it won’t revisit Western Wall agreement freeze

Responding to a High Court petition against the suspension of a previously approved plan to enhance a pluralistic prayer area at the Western Wall, the government says it has no intention to “rethink” its freeze of the initial agreement.

In an 11-page response to the court’s request that the government readdress the decision, the state’s attorneys wrote that they had brought the issue up with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who, “after weighing all the extenuating circumstances,” decided at this time not to bring it up for discussion in the government.

The section prepared for prayer for the Women of the Wall by Robinson’s Arch in Jerusalem’s Old City is open for Jews, both men and women, to pray together as seen here, on July 17, 2014. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The controversial decision to freeze Western Wall agreement followed calls by Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition allies to scrap the deal. The plan, approved by the cabinet in January 2016, would have seen the establishment of a properly prepared pavilion for pluralistic prayer — as opposed to current temporary arrangements — under joint oversight involving all major streams of Judaism.

Yesterday, speaking to journalists in New York, Netanyahu adamantly defended Orthodoxy’s religious monopoly in Israel, arguing that it was impossible to change the delicate status quo that has existed since the state was founded.

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