Jewish Agency passes resolution panning ‘despicable’ violent protests at Western Wall

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

The Jewish Agency board of governors unanimously passes a resolution requiring the organization to take immediate action to address the situation at the Western Wall, following violent protests at the egalitarian section of the holy site last month.

The resolution, which describes the protests as “despicable,” calls on the organization to discuss the matter with Israeli government officials, to garner Israeli public opinion about the issue and to identify “actions that can be taken to ensure that all Jews are welcomed to Ezrat Yisrael (the egalitarian section), as they are all members of the Jewish people family.”

“The Jewish Agency will promptly develop, approve, and implement a detailed work plan for the above-mentioned actions,” the resolution reads.

World Zionist Organization vice-chairman Yizhar Hess, a long-time advocate on behalf of non-Orthodox streams of Judaism in Israel, hails the resolution, including the fact that one of the people who voted for it was Rabbi Pesach Lerner, the head of the ultra-Orthodox Eretz Hakodesh organization, which has in the past organized protests against egalitarian and female-led prayer at the Western Wall.

“Rabbi Pesach Lerner listened closely to Rabbi Rick Jacobs [of the Union for Reform Judaism] and to Rabbi Steve Wernick [of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism], and I heard with my own ears him vote in favor of the resolution condemning the ‘despicable’ riot that disturbed egalitarian prayer at Ezrat Yisrael. This is an important achievement,” Hess says.

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