PM, haredi leaders hold secret meeting over Western Wall deal

PM, Attorney General ask leaders of haredi parties to support freezing deal to allow Reform prayers at Kotel rather than cancelling deal.

Gary Willig,

Binyamin Netanyahu speaks with Yaakov Litzman
Binyamin Netanyahu speaks with Yaakov Litzman
FLASH90

Representatives of the haredi political parties met in secret with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Thursday night to discuss the deal to allow 'egalitarian' prayer at the Western Wall, the Behadrei Haredim Hebrew news site reported.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Netanyahu, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, and MK Moshe Gafni. The haredi leaders presented their position that the outline of the Western Wall deal should be cancelled and rescinded,

However, Netanyahu suggested that rather than cancelling the deal altogether, the government freeze the plan and delay its implementation.

The deal would have created a separate prayer section at the Western Wall for non-Orthodox denominations, against the established Orthodox customs at the site. The haredi political parties have been steadfast in their opposition to the deal, which could cause a coalition crisis if implemented.

Netanyahu reportedly asked the haredi ministers and MK to ask their rabbis, including the Chief Rabbis, to support his proposal to freeze the deal so as to avoid conflict with the Reform Movement and other non-Orthodox liberal Jewish groups in the US.

The current position of the leaders of the haredi parties, in accordance with the positions of leading haredi rabbis, including Chief Rabbi David Lau, is that the deal must be cancelled.

MK Dudi Amsalem (Likud), has submitted a bill which would recognize the Western Wall as an Orthodox synagogue. If passed, the bill would make any attempt to introduce non-Orthodox services at the Western Wall illegal.




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