An Israeli government decision to shelve a plan that would have allowed women to pray with men at the iconic Western Wall in Jerusalem has triggered acrimony from Jewish groups in Israel and the United States.
The Reform movement had won approval for an upgrade of its area in the Western Wall plaza so it would have the same status as the traditional, separate male and female prayer sections.
Jacobs said later he had canceled a meeting with Netanyahu that had been scheduled for Thursday.
Braverman also said that Netanyahu instructed him and fellow minister Tzachi Hanegbi “to continue dialogue in order to try and reach a solution”.
The agreement had followed three years of negotiations between liberal Jewish groups in Israel and in the U.S. and the Israeli government and had been seen as a breakthrough in promoting religious pluralism in Israel, where ultra-Orthodox authorities govern nearly every facet of Jewish life. In another controversial decision Sunday, his government promoted a bill to maintain the ultra-Orthodox monopoly over conversions.
The move reflects an unprecedented gulf that has erupted between Israel and the Jewish diaspora over how Judaism can be practiced in Israel.
The Prime Minister’s Office in Israel said it was working to ensure that Jews of all streams can feel comfortable praying at the Western Wall after the Cabinet voted to freeze an agreement that would have made a permanent space there for women and men to pray as they wish.
Leaders of the Ultra-Orthodox party claimed the manner in which the deal was reached prevented compromise between the Ultra-Orthodox interests and the Reformed and Conservative movements, according to a report from Haaretz.
Sunday’s Cabinet decision touched a raw nerve and sparked a rare display of public anger from American Jewish groups, who hinted the move could undermine their longstanding political, financial and emotional support for Israel. “This does not add up to be a compelling example of what all of us understand Jewish life to be, and if there’s growing dissonance between those who lead the State of Israel and those who lead American Jewry, the consequences are serious”.
The latest setback in that fight came Sunday, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the suspension of a 2016 agreement to expand the holy site’s southern section, used for egalitarian prayer, and appoint an interdenominational commission to oversee it.
Elazar Stern, a modern Orthodox lawmaker from the centrist Yesh Atid party, asked the attorney general yesterday to review the decision-making process. Ultra-Orthodox leaders in turn ramped up their criticism and said diaspora Jews would have no say in how religion was conducted in Israel.
“How can it be that in the State of Israel in 2017 will ignore the teachings of the Shulchan Aruch (a book of Jewish law), which allows every recognized rabbinical community to enable the conversion of a person seeking to join the Jewish people – and they do this with the sponsorship of ultra-orthodox parties”.
“We made a mistake”. “But the Cabinet’s decision last night – a cynical, even wicked decision – took this historic agreement and threw it in the faces of millions of Jews around the world”.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking at the annual Taglit Birthright event, held at Jerusalem’s International Conference Center.