The friction and hostility we witnessed today at one of Judaism's holiest sites is unacceptable and could have been avoided if the previously agreed upon 'Western Wall Compromise' had been honored.
Yohanan Plesner, President of the Israel Democracy Institute, and Shlomit Ravitzki Tur Paz, Director of IDI's Center for Religion, Nation and State on the latest tension at the Western Wall:
"The friction and hostility we witnessed today at one of Judaism's holiest sites is unacceptable and could have been avoided if the previously agreed upon 'Western Wall Compromise' had been honored. The relationship between Israel and Jews of all denominations is a strategic one and it would be wise of the new government to renew its commitment to the arrangement that had been agreed upon by members of the previous coalition– including representatives of the ultra-Orthodox parties.
The passage of the state budget is an excellent opportunity to return to the 2016 agreement that would include an 'Ezrat Yisrael', where egalitarian prayer can be held and families from all streams of Judaism can celebrate according to their preference and customs. While the Orthodox Rabbinate currently administers this holy site, it would be prudent to respect the right to prayer of all Jews as we recall the lessons of this week's Torah portion where a bitter rivalry between brothers – Jacob and Essau –led to a devastating result.
The Kotel compromise does not undermine the traditional character of the Western Wall, rather it is a decision that respects Israeli and Diaspora Jewry. The longer the rift over Israel's failure to recognize non-Orthodox streams of Judaism continues, the deeper the fissure will grow. Our country must ensure religious equality if we endeavor to strengthen the special bond between Israel and Jewish communities. The continued success of the Zionist project demands that we uphold the value of equality for all denominations of Judaism."