Women of the Wall Coming Back in Elul

YERUSHALAYIM -
kosel
(Hadas Parush/Flash90)

While the Israeli government says it is working to upgrade the prayer space for non-Orthodox groups at the Kosel, the focus of the controversy is about to shift from the Prime Minister’s Office back to the Kosel plaza itself next week.

Women of the Wall and their Reform and Conservative allies say they are planning a protest prayer at the Kosel next Wednesday, the second day of Rosh Chodesh Elul, according to Ynet.

Among other things, the gathering will feature a shofar blowing.

Several MKs from Meretz and the Zionist Camp parties are reportedly planning to join the demonstration, as well.

The event comes about two months after the government suspended a compromise plan that would have given more prominence, funding and autonomy to the non-Orthodox at the Kosel. The plan was canceled after chareidi ministers in the coalition adamantly refused to support it, and a coalition crisis threatened.

“Canceling the plan will not stop us,” said Anat Hoffman, director of Women of the Wall. “As long as a proper solution is not found, we intend to continue to pray at the women’s section, as the court’s decision allows us to do. If legislation is passed that turns our prayer into a criminal offense, we will be ready to see it through to the end, including prison.”

“The most national government, on the face of it, is also the government that caused the biggest crisis Israel ever faced with Diaspora Jewry,” said Yizhar Hess, executive director and CEO of the Conservative Judaism movement. “We hoped the government would find an honorable solution, but we were wrong. Or misled. We are waiting for a hearing at the High Court at the end of this month, and in the meantime, we shall arrive at the Western Wall at Rosh Chodesh Elul.”