Monday, March 07, 2016

In Israel, Western Wall Compromise May Be Unraveling

In Israel, the much-heralded compromise approved by Prime Minister Netanyahu's cabinet at the end of January to construct a separate prayer space at the Western Wall for egalitarian prayer now seems to possibly be unraveling.  Jerusalem Post reported yesterday that opposition from the Chief Rabbinate and much of the Orthodox religious establishment is growing.  A meeting between the Prime Minister and Israel's two chief rabbis scheduled for yesterday was canceled as the Prime minister asked the chief rabbis along with the current Orthodox administrator of the Western Wall to submit proposals for changes in the agreement. The Orthodox establishment appears to be particularly opposed to the arrangement that would create a committee to regulate the proposed new prayer space, with the Reform and Conservative (Masorti) movements in Judaism given seats on the committee. Several Israeli Orthodox rabbis have made scathing attacks against the Reform movement in recent weeks. On Saturday, the Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Shlomo Amar, referring to the Reform and Conservative movements, said:
It is not permitted in any way to give it [the Western Wall] over to disgrace and shame in the hands of those who purport to pray and act with immodesty and clownishness, which is a desecration of that which is holy, and the trampling of the inheritance of Israel throughout the generations in a brazen and cruel manner.