Conservative and Reform leaders meet with the Prime Minister’s Office; opposition MKs react

On Monday, June 13th, representatives of the Masorti (Conservative) and Reform movements in Israel as well as representatives of Women of the Wall met with Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo in the Prime Minister’s Office regarding the status of the Western Wall agreement, which has been frozen for the past five years.

Even before the meeting, opposition MKs took the opportunity to criticize both Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (Yamina) and the liberal movements of Judaism.

MK Avigdor Maoz (Religious Zionism):

The Bennett Government is paralyzed, it cannot do the most basic things for the residents of Israel. But it does the most important thing for it, even while crumbling to death: Another attempt to divide the Western Wall, the heart of the nation. This will not be, with God’s help. We promise to fix it. 

MK Yitzhak Pindrus (United Torah Judaism)

It is clear to all that this is an irrelevant Prime Minister, and so too a meeting with a Reform organization that is irrelevant which they want to artificially resuscitate here in Israel. Therefore, I do not think it is right to take this talk too seriously.

Rakefet Ginsberg, CEO of the Masorti Movement in Israel spoke after the meeting:

We left the meeting with mixed feelings. At this phase, warm words cannot stand alone without action. The absurd attempt of those who oppose the compromise to present the Egalitarian Kotel as the exclusive need of the Conservative or the Reform will not succeed. A respectable portion of the people of Israel chooses to pray together as a family, as we can see from the hundreds of people who pray every day and the 20 Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies that took place this morning at the Egalitarian Kotel. The ‘Government of Change’ was meant to represent the central stream of Israel society, which believes in ‘live and let live.’ In practice, again and again, the government surrenders to fringe voices and unfounded fears, instead of proudly bearing the values which were meant to be the foundation of this government. 

The Israel Reform Movement and Women of the Wall tweeted a joint statement:

We were disappointed that a year after the establishment of the government there has been no progress in transforming Ezrat Yisrael into an accessible and respectful place of worship. Other than putting up two canopies for shade absolutely nothing else has been done. For over four years the stones of the Western Wall have not been accessible to worshipers at Ezrat Yisrael and at the same time Ultra National Orthodox Haredim extremists bring “mechitzot” (dividers) and disturb egalitarian services with bullying and violence. At the same time, the violence against Women of the Wall during their monthly Rosh Hodesh services in the Women’s Section of the Wall continues unabated. We call on the Israel government to implement the Kotel compromise without further delay and in its framework make the egalitarian plaza a respectful place of worship.