Supreme Court Slams Government for Western Wall Delays

The Supreme Court has chastised the government for failing to establish a permanent pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall. The remarks took place at a hearing regarding a 2013 petition against the Western Wall Heritage Foundation and the Prime Minister’s Office. The petitioners included a number of NIF grantees – the Reform Movement, Hiddush, Be Free Israel, the Masorti movement, and others.

In a statement, Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of NIF grantee Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), said: “We are gratified that the Supreme Court, in its wisdom, has accepted our long-held argument that the Western Wall cannot be held hostage by a minority sect. They [the judges] actually used the term ‘for God’s sake’ to demand that the government implement its decision to have a pluralistic plaza right next to the traditional plaza where women, Reform and Conservative Jews can pray as is their custom.”

In January, the state agreed to create a permanent pluralistic prayer section in the Robinson’s Arch area, and to create a new management committee in which all streams of Judaism were represented.

Following the hearing, Attorney Yizhar Hess, the head of Israel’s Masorti (Conservative) movement, said: “I would cautiously say I’m happy for the Kotel deal, but it’s a shonda [an embarrassment], a mistake, that the government cannot implement its decisions. It tells you something about the government of the State of Israel.”

September 2016