Lapid Joins in Shelving Kosel Plan

YERUSHALAYIM -
Foreign Minister and head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has indicated that the government will not immediately be pursuing plans for an egalitarian plaza at the Kosel which has been demanded by Reform and Conservative groups.

“I support the Western Wall compromise, but not everything can be done at once. We have four years during which we will advance many great things,” he told his Yesh Atid party at a meeting on Monday, according to media reports.

Lapid has been in favor of the controversial move, which has been fought for several years by the Orthodox community, but now appears in agreement with Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who shelved the matter, as reported on Sunday.

The foreign minister did not elaborate on his change of heart.

“We have decided to not deal with this now, period,” Kahana told aides over the weekend. “We’re not touching it,” Kahana said.

It’s far from being the end of the matter, though.

“As noted in a statement to the High Court delivered a few days ago, the current government is committed to the process of establishing an egalitarian and state-owned prayer plaza at the Western Wall,” said Labor MK Gilad Kariv, a Reform activist.

In response to questions from The Jerusalem Post, Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo

denied that the government wanted to delay implementation “for a substantive period of time,” saying the issue was “being dealt with.”