Powerful Haredi MK To Block Official Government Funding For New Egalitarian Prayer Area At Western Wall
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
The haredi head of the Knesset Finance Committee will block funding for the egalitarian prayer area to located at Robinson’s Arch not far from the traditional Kotel (Western Wall) area, the JTA reported.
Rabbi Moshe Gafni, the co-head of the Ashkenazi haredi United Torah Judaism Party will block the approximately $10 million needed create the new prayer space, even though haredi political leaders supposed promised they would not oppose the plan when the cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu votes on it Sunday.
Netanyahu, however, has a solution to this problem: have either the Jerusalem municipality, the Reform and Conservative movements, or the Jewish Agency for Israel fund the project.
However, haredim can essentially veto any allocation from city, so it is unlikely (although not impossible) for the bulk of funding to come from it.
The Jewish Agency would likely act as a conduit for foreign donations earmarked for the egalitarian prayer space, not actually pay for it itself out of purely Israeli funds.
That means the non-Orthodox movements would be forced to pay millions of dollars for something the Government of Israel was essentially ordered a decade ago by the High Court to build with its own funds.
The Reform and Conservative movements and Women of Wall have already given up on the idea that the new egalitarian prayer space would be made contiguous with the Kotel proper and be made equal in prominence after the government only very recently recently made it clear security and diplomatic concerns would prevent the needed construction at the Holy Site. FailedMessiah.com reported more than two years ago – two years before any other media source – that construction would not take place due to those same security and diplomatic concerns – a warning the non-Orthodox movements and WoW disregarded at the time.