Pluralistic Groups Threaten High Court Petition

YERUSHALAYIM -

The Reform and Conservative Movements, together with the Women of the Wall have notified Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that they will go to the High Court if their demands for a special prayer space at the Kosel are not immediately met.

In a joint letter sent on Sunday to the prime minister, they said they were “deeply disappointed” by the failure to implement a January agreement to create a space for them at the Kosel. The letter also complained about a bill aimed at preventing them from gaining access to mikvaos in Israel for the purpose of their conversions. (Reform and Conservative conversion ceremonies have no validity in Jewish law, and the chareidi parties in the Knesset have blocked their access to mikvaos.)

Netanyahu has been seeking a compromise that will somehow satisfy both the pluralistic groups and the Orthodox parties along with the chief rabbinate. The latter have staunchly opposed any such concessions and recently reiterated the position of Gedolei Yisrael that no official recognition of these groups can be tolerated.
In a cabinet decision approved 15 to 5 in January, the government agreed to upgrade an existing egalitarian prayer section at the southern end of the Kosel, but Orthodox opposition has stymied the plan.

The state attorney’s office said recently that the government intends to begin the necessary work at the Robinson’s Arch area of the southern Kosel to prepare for the new prayer site. However, this requires a change in the regulations pertaining to the Kosel, which will take more time. The attorneys asked the High Court to give it at least until the beginning of August to begin implementation, The Jerusalem Post reported.