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Livni: I won't Let Bennett Decide on Kotel

Gender war in the Cabinet? Justice Minister says she won't allow Minister of Religion to decide on Women of Wall.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/15/2013, 10:55 PM

Tzipi Livni
Tzipi Livni
Flash 90

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni announced Wednesday that she will not allow Minister of Religion,Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home party), to solve the Women of the Wall (WoW) controversy by promulgating new regulations for Kotel prayer.

"I am informing you of my principled stand on the matter, before you make any new regulations," she announced, in what she said was a letter that she sent to Bennett. "I accept the court's decision and I, too, believe that it will make a meaningful contribution to the advancement of women in Israeli and religious society."

Bennett said that he never received Livni's letter. He explained that he had decided to negotiate with the Women of the Wall in order to avert violence at the Kotel Plaza. "I had hoped to reach a compromise in the coming days," he wrote. "And then came Tzipi Livni. She announced in the media a short time ago that she will not let me make regulations (indeed, that is something she can do, as Justice Minister). This, of course, undermines my ability to achieve the compromise."

Bennett added that Livni never spoke to him or consulted him. Instead, he said, she behaved like "an elephant in a china shop" and hurt the chances of reaching a compromise.

On Friday, the first day of the Hebrew month of Sivan, over a thousand young religious women came to the Kotel to pray individually at the request of their rabbis, vastly outnumbering the small group of "Women of the Wall" at the site. Large groups of hareidi young men arrived as well, however, and shouted insults at the WoW members. Media coverage focused on the men's disruptive behavior .