Victory for Religious Pluralism
In a major victory for Women of the Wall and the Masorti (Conservative) Movement, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office has prohibited use of gender separation partitions in the egalitarian plaza of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Drorit Steinmetz, an employee of the Prime Minister’s Office wrote to those in charge of the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City (specifically, the CEO of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter) and told him that “the insertion of gender segregation partitions at the entrance to the plaza must be prevented.”
The letter reiterated a 2020 Ministry of Justice decision that declared that stewards at the site do not have the authority to enforce such segregation. The letter also demanded that the police act to ensure that no such partitions are used and to protect the rights of worshippers in the egalitarian plaza.
The Masorti movement, which is responsible for the egalitarian plaza, said, “We see this as an important move and another step towards securing the Western Wall as a shared space and home for all the people of Israel, in its diversity and streams.”
There have been a number of violent and ugly incidents at the Western Wall’s egalitarian plaza over the past few years in which Jewish extremists have attacked liberal Jews from Israel and the Diaspora.