Saturday, July 1, 2017

With Isreal's decision on prayers at Western Wall, many American Jews feel diminished clout

By Joshua Mitnick
Jewish women pray at the men's section of the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City. Israel is shelving a deal to allow men and women to pray together at the Western Wall. (Thomas Coex / AFP/Getty Images)
TEL AVIV---When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet voted to renege on a compromise plan for a plaza where women and men could pray together at the Western Wall, the decision was widely viewed as a move to placate ultra-religious parties in the ruling government coalition. But analysts and former government officials say there’s another key factor at play: The rise of President Trump has reinforced the perception among some in Israel’s right-wing government that the clout of liberal non-Orthodox Jews in the U.S. is diminishing. The government Sunday said it was freezing an 18-month-old agreement to expand an extra plaza along the wall in Jerusalem’s Old City for the egalitarian worship favored by Reform and Conservative Jews, as well as the Israeli feminist group Women of the Wall. [More]