Under Pressure From Conservative Movement, Women Of The Wall Agree To Government Compromise
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Under pressure from the Conservative Movement which had moved to isolate it and fearful that the new leader of the Reform Movement lacked the political savvy or skills to support them, Women of the Wall (WoW) has reportedly agreed in principle to a compromise solution to the Kotel (Western Wall) crisis proposed by Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky, Ha’aretz reported.
That agreement in principle hinges on the government agreeing to and implementing several things, including:
• There be one entrance and one contiguous national plaza for all three prayer sections that includes the already existing men’s and women’s prayer areas at the Kotel proper and the new egalitarian space at Robinson’s Arch.
• Full equality in funding for the new egalitarian are and the existing prayer areas.
• Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the state-funded haredi Kotel rabbi, will have nothing to do with the new egalitarian prayer area.
• Equal representation be given to women on the board that runs the new prayer space.
• Women’s-only prayer groups will be allowed to meet in the new egalitarian prayer area and portable mechitzas (dividers) will be made available for their use. (Orthodox women’s prayer groups need mechitzas to separate their prayers from praying men.)
“The new area will be governed not by [Western Wall chief rabbi] Shmuel Rabinowitz
but by a board of Jewish leaders, including equal representation of
women, who value women’s prayer and reject all forms of violence,” WoW reportedly said in statement.
“It is with great pain and sadness that we began to consider this new strategy, but we must be agents of change. We have decided today to stand on the tips of our toes and look into the future. We must rise about our internal conflict in order to build the future we want for our daughters,” Women of the Wall Chairwoman Anat Hoffman reportedly said after the vote.
But Women of the Wall will continue to hold its prayer services at the Kotel proper until the government agrees to the compromise and implements it.
“We have no intention of moving from there until all our conditions have been met,” WoW’s Executive Director, Lesley Sachs, reportedly said.
Most of WoWs conditions are already in Sharansky’s plan. The problem will be implementing that plan, as FailedMessiah.com was the first to report worldwide many months ago.
As FailedMessiah.com reported months ago, Ha’aretz now reports that a major hurdle in implementing it is to get the Waqf (the Muslim authority that controls the Muslim shrines on the Temple Mount) and the Kingdom of Jordan to agree to allow the ramp leading up to the Temple Mount, which divides the Robinson’s Arch area from the Kotel proper, to be removed and replaced with another that allows completely free movement and free sight between the Jewish prayer areas below it and the creation of one contiguous Jewish Kotel prayer plaza.
Another major hurdle will be achieving the approval of Israel’s antiquities Authority, which is conducting digs in the Robinson’s Arch area and which views a new prayer plaza there as disastrous.
“Women of the Wall had come under mounting pressure in recent weeks, particularly from the Conservative movement, to show some more openness to the idea of a new egalitarian section,” Ha’aretz reported – echoing what FailedMessiah.com had reported several times during recent months. “The pressure to compromise followed the construction in late August of a new temporary prayer platform for mixed services by Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett,” Ha’aretz added – something FailedMessiah.com first reported last month, weeks before any other news outlet.
WoW feared that the Conservative Movement would accept a plan being circulated by Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit that is similar to Sharansky's plan but which does not remove the ramp to the Temple Mount or create one contiguous prayer area – essentially granting the Conservative Movement de facto control over the new (if lesser) prayer area at Robinson's Arch.