PM to AIPAC: I had no choice

PM Netanyahu tells AIPAC leaders at meeting over freezing of Western Wall deal that haredi parties threatened to bring down the government.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

AIPAC conference
AIPAC conference
Arutz Sheva

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained to the leaders of the pro-Israel American lobby AIPAC who met with him yesterday to express their disappointment in the government's decision to freeze the Western Wall outline that he had to make difficult decisions on the issue.

Senior representatives of AIPAC came to Israel for an emergency meeting with Netanyahu, in light of the harsh reactions to the decisions on Western Wall and the issue of conversion by liberal American Jewish movements.

Netanyahu explained to the heads of the lobby that he had received a threat from the haredi parties that if he did not respond to their demands on these issues immediately they would cause a coalition crisis and force the country into holding early elections. Netanyahu said that he preferred the stability of the government over causing a shake-up to the entire State of Israel.

In addition, Netanyahu emphasized that efforts are continuing to find a suitable solution for the non-Orthodox denominations at the Western Wall, as well as issues related to the conversion law which deals only with conversions performed in Israel anyway. Reform and Conservative conversions have never been recognized in Israel.

The AIPAC leaders told Netanyahu that American Jewry would be prepared to compromise on the Western Wall deal, but that the conversion law in its current form would be difficult at best for American Jews denominations and organizations to accept.

They said that the Reform and Conservative movements would accept that they have a platform to pray on at the Western Wall, which was provided by Minister Naftali Bennett and which will be enlarged. However, the movements will continue to demand that the entrance to the platform be located at the main Western Wall plaza, a demand to which the haredi political parties and most Religiouis Zionist Israelis vehemently object.