State Tells Court It Won’t Revisit Kosel Agreement Freeze

The section that will be prepared for prayer for the Women of the Wall, by Robinson’s Arch. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Responding to the High Court petition against the freeze of a previously approved plan to provide mixed-gender prayer areas for Reform and Conservative groups at the Kosel, the State informed the court Tuesday that it has no intention to “rethink” its freeze of the initial agreement.

The state also told the court that the decision to adopt the Kosel plan was not legally binding, and therefore the state was not obligated to carry it out.

In August, the High Court slammed the state for its June decision to freeze plans to provide the alternative prayer area. The plan that had previously been approved by the government in January 2016 involved setting up a prayer area adjacent to the Kosel, in the area known as Robinson’s Arch. An alternative plan to improve an area on the southern side of Har HaBayis for mixed-gender prayers has been rejected by the groups.

In its response to the court’s request that the government readdress the decision, the state’s attorneys wrote that they had discussed the issue with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who, “after weighing all the extenuating circumstances,” decided at this time not to bring it up for discussion in the government.

The state noted that this issue is a clear issue of policy, whose sensitivity and complexity need not be discussed at length.

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