Conservative Jews Deplore Freeze in Creating Mixed-Area Prayer Space at Western Wall

Posted on: Monday June 26, 2017

NEW YORK — Following Sunday’s announcement that the Israeli government had frozen a plan to create an egalitarian prayer section of Jersualem’s Western Wall, the Conservative/Masorti movement, as represented by the Rabbinical Assembly, The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Mercaz Olami, Masorti Olami and the Masorti movement in Israel, issued the following statement:

In January 2016 the government of Israel signed an agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall. Only 17 months later, the very same government voted to suspend that compromise plan. The Conservative/Masorti movement, speaking as a whole, deplores this action, yet another failure to uphold an agreement reached after years of negotiations.

Simultaneously, a new conversion bill is moving toward granting official authority for some conversions in Israel to the Rabbanut (Chief Rabbinate). Placing power over the Law of Return in the hands of the Chief Rabbinate has long been viewed as counter to both Zionist and democratic principles and would be disastrous for world Jewry for generations to come.

Because we love Israel and see the rising influence of an intolerant religious establishment as an existential threat to its future and to the unity of the Jewish people, we will not rest until these decisions not only are overturned but also until Israel fulfills the promise of its Zionist origins and founding declaration to “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex” and to “guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”