Benjamin Netanyahu Faces Political Risks With Plan for Western Wall

Premier Cannot Push Ultra-Orthodox Too Far

Risky Move: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu risks further alienating ultra-Orthodox Jews with plan for mixed-gender prayer at the Western Wall.
getty images
Risky Move: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu risks further alienating ultra-Orthodox Jews with plan for mixed-gender prayer at the Western Wall.

By Reuters

Published April 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

Sharansky proposes converting an old archaeological dig south of the Wall to a new enclosure which would be connected to the current prayer plazas but where men and women would be allowed to mix and worship freely.

“There has been no archeological activity there in a long time, so my recommendation is to regard the entire expanse as a place for Jews to pray in,” Sharansky told the Ynet news site.

The plan would not entail structural damage around al Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest shrine, Sharansky said. Palestinian fears of Israeli incursions there have sparked violence in the past.

Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, a claim that is not recognised internationally. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of state they seek to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Sharansky, who heads the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency for Israel, said he presented the plan to Jewish leaders of the various denominations in Israel and the United States, and to Israeli cabinet ministers.

“Everyone has their misgivings but they all understand that the situation where the Western Wall is a place of division must end, and that it must be rebuilt as a unifying place,” he said.

Peggy Cidor, a member of the Women of the Wall’s board of directors, said the plan “sounds very, very encouraging”.

“This situation, where every month we see one, two or three women being detained by police (at the Wall), could not go on,” she told Israel’s Army Radio. “That was clear to everyone.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.