President Herzog, Foreign Minister Slam Orthodox Disruption Of Egalitarian Service Near Western Wall

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JERUSALEM (VINnews) — President Herzog, Foreign Minister and Alternative Prime Minister Yair Lapid and other government officials condemned Sunday the disruption by orthodox elements of a Tisha B’Av prayer service, which was held at the egalitarian “pluralistic” prayer plaza near the Western Wall used by the Conservative Movement for prayers.

“On the day we commemorate the destruction of the Temple, a group of extremists decided to desecrate the holiness of the day and the holiness of the place and start a violent struggle at the Kotel,” Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tweeted Sunday.

“That’s the baseless hatred that led to the destruction of the Temple and our exile,” he added.

Yizhar Hess, former executive director and CEO of the Conservative Judaism Movement in Israel, also denounced Saturday’s incident as “baseless hatred.”

“They deliberately chose the evening of Tisha B’Av to incite — they are not interested in neither discourse nor compromise,” Hess told Army Radio on Sunday.

Orthodox youths bring a mechitza (partition) to the egalitarian section near the Western Wall

Tweet from Reform MK Gilad Kariv complains about religious youth praying at egalitarian site, terming it ‘baseless hatred’

It should be noted that Conservative elements including the Women of the Wall rarely use the egalitarian plaza for prayers, preferring to hold alternative services near the women’s section of the Western Wall itself, a matter which has aroused significant orthodox opposition in the past.

The youths who disrupted the prayers came from the Liba organization which has been holding daily prayer vigils at the site to oppose current government plans to establish an official prayer pavilion which is dedicated to Reform and Conservative prayers at the Western Wall. The plans for such a pavilion, which were originally touted by the Netanyahu government in 2016, were frozen by the former prime minister due to pressure from his chareidi coalition partners, who refused any move that could be seen as legitimizing pluralistic Judaism.

 


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