Home LATEST-NEWS Kahana Says Western Wall Deal Won’t Be Implemented For Next Two Months

Kahana Says Western Wall Deal Won’t Be Implemented For Next Two Months


Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana on Wednesday dashed hopes that the Western Wall deal would be accelerated following recent riots in the egalitarian section of the site.

On Saturday night, the night of Lent on the Ninth of Av, a large group of hardline Religious Zionist activists took over the egalitarian section of the Western Wall reserved for non-Orthodox mixed-gender prayers, erected a mechitza, divisiveness, and made it very difficult for a group of conservative worshipers to hold their services.

The incident sparked outrage and protest from the Masorti (traditional) and reform movements in Israel, numerous centrist and liberal politicians, as well as objections from Jewish organizations abroad, and calls for the Western Wall Agreement approved in 2016 but in 2017 was suspended indefinitely, accelerating due to ultra-Orthodox pressure.

The agreement would create a government-recognized holy site where the egalitarian section is currently located, physically enhance the sit and give non-Orthodox representatives a seat in the site’s governing body.

Asked by The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday whether the plan would be accelerated in light of recent events, Kahana said: “It’s not on my to-do list for the next two months,” adding that the government’s focus was first on passing the state budget.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Knesset plenum heard an urgent motion tabled by Labor MK and reform rabbi Gilad Kariv regarding the disruption of the egalitarian section on Tisha Be’av.

“Even today, we let the extremists and fanatics among us dictate the agenda on issues to be decided by broad consensus,” Kariv said during the plenary debate.

“If there is a lesson from the event of the destruction of the Jewish people that we should take, it is the need not to allow these elements to veto.”

Kariv said the government would have an opportunity in “the coming months” to “put the agreement on the Western Wall back on the agenda and properly regulate the right to egalitarian worship on part of the Western Wall.”

United Torah Judaism MK Meir Porush said in response that the Western Wall is the remnant of the Temples, remembering his late father, a former MK, who stood on the Knesset podium and showed the reform movement the word Zion from their prayer books. deleted, although this was later reversed.

“Why do the Reforms want to go to the Western Wall? To build Jerusalem and Zion?” asked Porush.

“The purpose of the reform is to encourage the ultra-Orthodox and religiously traditional community who believe in the return of God to Zion and Jerusalem,” the MK said.

“My father did the right thing when he threw the Reform prayer book on the floor and spit on it,” he added.

The actions of the hard-line Religious Zionist group have also been criticized abroad, with the Rabbinical Council of America, the mainstream modern Orthodox rabbinical association in the US, speaking out against the incident on Tuesday.

“The Rabbinical Council of America, the leading membership organization of Orthodox rabbis in North America, recognizes that expressions of disagreement, especially over religious principles, must be expressed with respect and dignity, and therefore deplores the unashamed disruption by Orthodox Jews of Tisha. Be’av celebrations at the Kotel this week,” the organization said.

And on Monday, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said it was deeply concerned about the development.

“The Talmud tells us that in the days leading up to the destruction of the Second Temple, the Jewish people were divided into rival factions, and because of this lack of unity, the Second Temple was lost,” said senior CoP Chair Dianne Lob, President, CEO William Daroff, and vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein.

“The Kotel is our collective sacred space. We must not forget the importance of standing together as Jews in the face of this desecration.”


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