Israel Shelves Plan for Pluralistic Prayer Section at Western Wall

Jewish worshippers attend the annual Cohanim prayer (priest's blessing) during the Sukkot holiday, or the feast of the Tabernacles, at the Western Wall in the old city of Jerusalem on October 19, 2016. Thousands of Jews gathered at the Western Wall in Jerusalem for a holiday blessing, a day after …
GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty

The Times of Israel reports: The cabinet on Sunday suspended a government-approved plan to establish a pluralistic prayer pavilion at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, following calls by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox coalition allies to scrap the deal.

The announcement was swiftly condemned by Israel’s Reform Movement and the Jewish Agency. In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu instructed Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman and Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi to formulate a new plan for the site.

It also said construction work on the southern edge of the Western Wall plaza — where the pluralistic prayer pavilion was slated to be built — would continue uninterrupted. The government decision to freeze the plan came amid calls from Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox lawmakers to dial back the plan to establish an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, which was approved by government ministers in January 2016.

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