Statement Regarding Meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu About Kotel Agreement


Today, a delegation of senior North American Jewish leaders, representing the Jewish Federations of North America, the Union for Reform Judaism, the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, the Conservative/Masorti movements, and Women of the Wall, together with Jewish Agency Chair Natan Sharansky, held an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in order to discuss the failure to implement the Kotel (Western Wall) Agreement that was voted into law by the Cabinet on January 31, 2016.

The Jewish leaders praised Prime Minister Netanyahu for his continued leadership on this issue and urged him to ensure that the agreement can be implemented immediately.

The leaders, who have flown to Israel for the urgent consultations with the Prime Minister, expressed their significant disappointment at the fact that the Cabinet resolution has not been implemented.

At the time of the signing, the agreement was hailed as a breakthrough in religious relations, proving that compromise could be reached between diverse groups and different interests.

Despite Cabinet approval, ultra-Orthodox parties are blocking implementation, and the Prime Minister requested a 60-day period to consider ways to move forward. Today’s meeting was timed to coincide with the end of that period.

The negotiated agreement involved significant compromises undertaken by the Federation, Reform, Conservative and Women of the Wall partners, but were accepted in the name of Jewish unity.

The Women of the Wall, who have advocated for pluralistic prayer rights at the Kotel for decades, will, according to the agreement, continue to hold their regular prayer services at the current Kotel prayer areas until the agreed upon arrangements are fully implemented.

The leaders in attendance represent the broad base of the pro-Israel community in the United States.

Following the meeting, the leaders stated, “Admittedly we are frustrated, however we look forward to measurable progress being made in the coming weeks. Millions of Jews in Israel and around world are looking to the Israeli government to implement this agreement and in doing so, to give respect to Jews everywhere, honoring all expressions of Judaism.”

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