Women of the Wall react to Bennet’s support of the Mendelblit Plan

Today Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennet announced his support for the Mendelblit plan, the Prime Minister’s Office committee charged with the task of solving the problem of inequality at the Western Wall.

The committee is supporting a solution in which a wooden balcony has been built on scaffolding in the middle of Robinson’s Arch, an area separated by a wall and out of view from the Western Wall. The plan will effectively exile women and all Jews who pray in a way that is not ultra-Orthodox tradition to Robinson’s Arch and away from the area of the Western Wall where Jews have prayed for generations.

If this plan is accepted, the government will be excluding over 50% of Jewish population to the “back of the bus”.

Women of the Wall rejects the Mendelblit plan which dangerously circumvents the pluralist Sobel Disctrict Court decision. We are at a crossroads for religious freedom and freedom of expression in Israel. Today this effects Women of the Wall but tomorrow it will effect every Israeli and Jew around the world. What has been proven today is that the bullies were victorious- with their assault, spitting and cursing at women. Mendelblit and Bennet have given in to the threats and violence of the haredi extremist minority in Israel and this is a dangerous precedent for our democracy.

The proposed plan, the wooden stage in the center of the archaeological visitor’s center, is concerning only mixed prayer, and therefore does not provide a solution for Women of the Wall, a mixed women’s prayer section. The plan leaves control over the entire area in the hands of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, an organization run by a vast majority ultra-Orthodox men. The stage is in no way equal topographically or geographically to the original plaza, not does it come close to the Wall itself, as it stands to the back of the Robinson’s Arch area. This plan is the very definition of separate, and not nearly close to equal, it provides an out of sight- out of mind solution silencing women at the Western Wall.

We call upon Tzipi Livni Minister of Justice to reject this plan, to demand equal rights for women to pray at the women’s section of the Western Wall. Women of the Wall is calling for a 24 hour sit-in at the Western Wall in the hopes that the government will reject this plan and support the District Court Decision in which all women can pray freely at the Western Wall.

4 Comments

  1. Ariel Isenberg
    August 25, 2013

    Is there a petition supporters of religious equality can sign?

  2. Sylvia Windmueller
    August 25, 2013

    I will make NO DONATIONS TO THE STATE OF ISRAEL until equality at the Kotel is granted…this decision is a travesty of justice for we Jews in the Conservative/Progressive movements…..move the Orthodox to Robinson’s Arch if they are offended with our presence…

  3. Bobbi Zahra
    August 25, 2013

    This ‘plan’ is an ill-conceived to maintain an ultra-Orthodox status quo. This does not work for all Jews, and it does not work for all Jewish women. Praying as I do, which is indeed, part of my CUSTOM, does not make me any less a Jew. And whenever I get a chance to get to the Wall, it is the Wall where I will pray – not some monstrosity of a platform that effectively ghettoizes anybody who is not ultra-Orthodox.

  4. Ellen Foust
    August 25, 2013

    I stand with the Women of the Wall in their call upon Tzipi Livni Minister of Justice to reject the Mendelblit plan. Not only is the Mendelblit plan a spineless reaction to the disgusting Haredi behavior [Where in the Torah is there halacha that endorses spitting and chair throwing. Where is the Talmud is there a passage that supports this?], but it has no place in a democracy in which a small minority should not be dictating the civil and religious rights of everyone else.

    If I were in Jerusalem, I would most certainly be at the WOW sitin.

    Ellen Foust
    Boston, MA USA


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