Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Israel Cabinet Plans Vote on Western Wall Egalitarian Prayer Plan

TEL AVIV — Israel’s Cabinet is expected to vote Sunday on a proposal that would expand the non-Orthodox section of the Western Wall.

The details of the proposal have not been released, but negotiations over expanding the non-Orthodox site — a segment of the wall called Robinson’s Arch, south of the traditional prayer site — have been taking place for approximately 2 1/2 years.

The talks include representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Israeli government, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation — which runs the holy site — and Women of the Wall, a women’s group that holds monthly prayer services at the wall.

The issue rose in prominence in October 2012, when Women of the Wall Chairwoman Anat Hoffman was arrested for leading the group’s service and wearing a tallit at the wall. At the end of that year, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tasked Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky with finding a solution that would satisfy the site’s haredi Orthodox management as well as Women of the Wall.

In 2013, Sharansky drafted an outline for a plan wherein Robinson’s Arch would be expanded, and a shared entrance would be built for the Orthodox and non-Orthodox sections of the wall. Women of the Wall would move their prayers from the women’s section of the traditional wall to Robinson’s Arch. The negotiations began based on that plan.

Soon after Sharansky introduced his outline, a Jerusalem district court ruled that Women of the Wall have the right to conduct prayers in the wall’s women’s section. In November 2013, Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett built a temporary platform that expanded the prayer space at Robinson’s Arch.





    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.