Natan Sharansky To Release Final Plan To Reform Prayer Western Wall

Doubts Grow in Months Since Kotel Proposal Floated

jane eisner

By JTA

Published August 13, 2013.
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Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky will release his full plan for a compromise among religious groups at the Western Wall in two weeks.

Sharansky, according to Haaretz, aims to release the plan before the end of August. Upon announcing the release plans, he said that “if we have an agreement on a solution for the future, that can help bring us closer to a compromise in the interim.”

Under Sharansky’s plan, first reported in April, an existing egalitarian section of the wall known as Robinson’s Arch would be expanded and a unified entrance would be built leading to the wall’s traditional and egalitarian sections. Robinson’s Arch would be open at all times — as opposed to now, when it is open for a few hours per day.

The expanded section for egalitarian prayer would be run by a joint commission of the Israeli government, the Jewish Agency and representatives of world Jewry. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which runs the current Western Wall Plaza, would continue to run the traditional section.

Protests over the high-profile arrests of women at the holy site led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late last year to tap Sharansky, the chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, to formulate a compromise solution.

The months since Sharansky introduced the plan have seen increased haredi protests of Women of the Wall, a group that organizes a women’s service at the wall at the beginning of each Jewish month.


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