One Year and Counting: Western Wall Prayer Fight Must Go On

Inside Leadership

One Year and Counting: Western Wall Prayer Fight Must Go On

Reform activist Anat Hoffman being arrested at the Western Wall

One year ago, we thought we had made history. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government passed the Western Wall agreement, for the first time granting official recognition to non-Orthodox Jewish streams and women’s rights at Judaism’s holiest site. We were proud of achieving a historic compromise because we knew it was the only way of instilling social change in society. The compromise was painful for us, but we thought it was a worthwhile sacrifice.

One year later, that document feels more like a bitter betrayal. Facing a rebellion from his haredi Orthodox coalition parties, Netanyahu shelved the agreement and now even allows talk, by his own ministers, of annulling it. For him, it seems that love of power has proven greater than his own integrity.

On Wednesday, the government has to provide Israel’s Supreme Court with good cause for the prohibition on women’s prayer with a Torah at the Kotel. It has to justify its failure to implement the Western Wall agreement we negotiated for three years. And it has to explain why we do not have a seat on the Western Wall Heritage Foundation.

Read the rest of this op-ed from JTA.

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Anat Hoffman is the executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the public and legal advocacy arm of the Reform Jewish Movement in Israel. She is also the chairwoman of Women of the Wall, a group of Jewish women and men from around the world who strive to achieve the right of women to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Anat Hoffman

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