Meeting between Netanyahu, chief rabbis canceled

Scheduled meeting on allocation of a non-Orthodox prayer space at the Kotel abruptly canceled.

Hezki Baruch ,

Jews pray at the Western Wall
Jews pray at the Western Wall
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

A meeting that was planned for Sunday between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the chief rabbis regarding the allocation of a non-Orthodox prayer space at the Kotel for Reform and Conservative Jews was abruptly canceled late on Saturday night.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was to meet on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. with Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau and Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef to discuss the government's decision around three weeks ago to create a new prayer space for Reform and Conservative Jews at the Kotel and remove the area from the authority of the rabbinate, transferring it to the control of the Prime Minister's Office in a breach of the status quo.

But the meeting was canceled hours after it was announced, and political sources said the cancellation was likely due to the fact that Netanyahu understood that he will be unable to further promote the plan because of the opposition of the chief rabbis and other members of the Rabbinical Council of the Chief Rabbinate.

The meeting would have been attended by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Health Minister Ya'akov Litzman, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri and Finance Committee chairman MK Moshe Gafni.

Rabbi Lau had planned to unequivocally demand the cancellation of the recognition of the Reform Movement.

The Prime Minister's Office has apparently realized that a change in the proposed plan is inevitable, and the chief rabbis and Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz will now take part in the talks on a new outline.