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September 20, 2017 12:13 pm

Israeli PM Netanyahu Nixes High Court Request to Reconsider Freeze of Western Wall Egalitarian Prayer Deal

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The Western Wall in Jerusalem. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected a request by the High Court of Justice to implement the Western Wall agreement on an egalitarian prayer section.

A few weeks ago, the High Court gave the state an ultimatum to clarify whether it was willing to implement a plan for a new egalitarian prayer space adopted in January 2016 but was suspended in June 2017 by the Israeli cabinet.

In response, the State Attorney’s Office said that Netanyahu had “considered the circumstances of the issue and decided not to bring the Western Wall agreement for an additional hearing in the cabinet.”

Non-Orthodox groups, including Women of the Wall, petitioned the court in the wake of the government’s decision to suspend the compromise — which would have expanded the platform currently used for egalitarian prayer in an area adjacent to the Western Wall’s main plaza. The petitioners asked the court to force the government to implement the plan or alternatively, redivide the main plaza and grant non-Orthodox groups a special section.

On Sunday, Netanyahu met with eight senior American Jewish leaders in New York to discuss relations with Diaspora Jewry, including the Western Wall issue. Jewish leaders asked Netanyahu for clarification regarding the creation of “a united prayer platform,” at the Western Wall, but received no concrete promises on the construction of a new egalitarian prayer pavilion.

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