Reform leaders demand prayer space at Western Wall

Leaders of the reform movement send letter to Netanyahu demanding mixed-gender prayer space at Western Wall for liberal streams of Judaism

Tal Polon ,

Man prays at the Kotel (Western Wall)
Man prays at the Kotel (Western Wall)
Uri Lenz/Flash 90

Reform movement leaders sent an open letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday, in which they complained of the lack of progress in opening a mixed-gender section at the Western Wall.

"For this government agreement to collapse would be the signal of a real rupture of the North American-Israel relationship," said Rick Jacobs.

In January 2016, the Israeli government announced that it would apportion an area for mixed-gender prayer services. Official implementation, however, is on hold; in the meantime, Jews that identify with the reform movement have gone against the wishes of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, creating unofficial mixed-gender prayer spaces.

In the letter, Jacobs and representatives of Reform and Conservative Judaism called the current situation "unjust and insulting." They also threatened to file suit with the Israeli Supreme Court in order to obtain legal standing for a mixed-gender prayer section in the main square of the Western Wall, whereas the mixed-gender prayer space proposed in January would not have been in the main square, according to Associated Press.