Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the leaders of U.S. Jewish federations on Monday that any other premier would have given in to pressure from ultra-Orthodox political parties and completely canceled the plan for an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, two senior Israeli officials involved in the meeting told Haaretz.
The meeting was called over the crisis stemming from the Israeli government’s decision to freeze the agreement for a mixed prayer space at the Kotel until further solutions could be found, and also a decision by ministers to back a bill limiting the recognition of non-Orthodox conversions in Israel.
Jerry Silverman, president of the Jewish Federations of North America, attended Monday evening’s meeting with Netanyahu, along with the CEOs of the New York, Chicago and Cleveland Jewish federations.
The prime minister claimed he did not cave in to pressure from the ultra-Orthodox parties, the two officials said.
Netanyahu told the U.S. Jewish leaders that, for him, all Jews are Jews, but some of his governing coalition partners do not see things the same way, said one of the officials.