Statement on Non-Implementation of Kotel Agreement

The Conservative/Masorti movement organizations feel betrayed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government’s ongoing refusal to implement the 2017 Kotel Agreement, most recently expressed in an interview with the Jerusalem Post January 28. The agreement, reached between the government of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Haredi parties in his government, the Women of the Wall, and the pluralistic streams of Judaism, calls for the formal establishment of an egalitarian prayer plaza at the Kotel.

It is unconscionable that Prime Minister Bennett has shelved these plans in light of the fact that alongside a majority of ministers and MKs in the present government who concur with the implementation, the majority of Israelis also believe that there should be free access for all Jews to pray according to their custom at the Western Wall. It is inconceivable that the government of Israel should continue to prevent freedom of prayer and equal rights to all Jews.

Furthermore, the continued denial of religious freedom is directly contradictory to the Prime Minister’s and other Ministers’ stated desire to bridge the gap between Israel and world Jewry. It is of grave concern to us that an increasing number of our members do not see themselves represented in the way Judaism continues to be practiced in the Jewish state. Israel cannot afford to turn its back on the majority of the Jewish people at a time when it is soliciting the assistance of World Jewry in combating anti-Israel actions in the UN and other forums. 

We call upon Prime Minister Bennett and his government to immediately implement the Kotel Agreement, manifesting his own belief that Israel should be a home for all Jews. 

We are happy to work with all and any government agencies to help promote the implementation of the agreement in the shortest possible time.

  • Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO, Rabbinical Assembly & USCJ
  • Rabbi Stewart Vogel, President, Rabbinical Assembly
  • Ned Gladsten, President, USCJ
  • Rabbi Ashira Konigsburg, COO, Rabbinical Assembly & CPO, USCJ
  • Rabbi Mikie Goldstein, President, Rabbinical Assembly of Israel
  • Rabbi Andrew Sacks, Director, Rabbinical Assembly of Israel
  • Cantor Stephen Stein, Executive Vice President, Cantors Assembly
  • Cantor Luis Cattan, President, Cantors Assembly
  • Allan Kahan, President, Federation of Jewish Men’s Clubs
  • Dr. Stephen Daniel Arnoff, CEO, Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center
  • Martin Werber, Chairperson, Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center
  • Eddie Edelstein, Executive Director, Jewish Educators Assembly
  • Rabbi Robin Foonberg, President, Jewish Educators Assembly
  • Shuly Rubin Schwartz, Chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary
  • Alan Levine, Chair, Board of Trustees, Jewish Theological Seminary
  • Steven Resnick, President, Jewish Youth Directors Association
  • Rakefet Ginsberg, Executive Director, Masorti Movement (Israel)
  • Sophie Fellman Rafalovitz, Chair, Masorti Movement (Israel)
  • Rabbi Mauricio Balter, Executive Director, Masorti Olami & MERCAZ Olami
  • Rabbi Phil Scheim, President, Masorti Olami
  • Gideon Aronoff, Executive Director, Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
  • Heidi Schneider, Chair, Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
  • Eric Leiderman, President, Masorti on Campus
  • Rabbi Jennifer Gorman, Executive Director, MERCAZ-Canada & Canadian Foundation for Masorti Judaism
  • Charles Wrock, President, Canadian Foundation for Masorti Judaism
  • Stan Greenspan, President, MERCAZ-Canada
  • Rabbi Alan Silverstein, President, MERCAZ Olami
  • Sarrae Crane, Executive Director, MERCAZ USA
  • Richard Helfand, President, MERCAZ USA
  • Susan Z. Kasper FSA, Executive Director, NAASE
  • Harvey M. Brenner FSA FTA, President, NAASE
  • Rabbi Ariel Stofenmacher, President & Rector, Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano
  • Claudio Pincus, Chair, Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano
  • Prof. David Golinkin, President, The Schechter Institutes, Inc.
  • Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, Dean , Schechter Rabbinical Seminary
  • Saul Sanders, Chair, The Schechter Institutes, Inc.
  • Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director, Women's League for Conservative Judaism
  • Debbi Kaner Goldich, International President, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism
  • Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Dean, Zacharias Frankel College
  • Rabbi Cheryl Peretz, Associate Dean, Zacharias Frankel College
  • Dr. Yizhar Hess, WZO vice-chairman and the senior representative of MERCAZ Olami in the National Institutions
  • Emily Levy-Shochat, Treasurer, Mercaz Olami