AIPAC Leaders Hold Emergency Talks with Netanyahu Over Western Wall Dispute

A picture taken with a tilt-shift lens shows a general view of Jewish men draped in prayer shawls perform the Cohanim prayer (priest's blessing) during the Pesach (Passover) holiday at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 6, 2015.
THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty

The Times of Israel reports: A delegation from the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC on Thursday held emergency talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, reportedly telling him of a “crisis of faith” across the US Jewish community as a result of his freezing of an agreement on pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall. A veteran New York member of Congress, meanwhile, called on Netanyahu to honor the original deal.

The three-member AIPAC delegation — outgoing president Lillian Pinkus, incoming president Mort Fridman and Vice CEO Richard Fishman — headed back to the US late Thursday immediately after the meeting. AIPAC refused to comment on the specifics of their talks, which focused on the Israeli cabinet’s decision Sunday to freeze a painstakingly negotiated agreement that would have established a permanent area for pluralistic prayer at Robinson’s Arch, jointly overseen by non-Orthodox religious groups.

A Channel 2 TV report said that AIPAC was concerned that the Western Wall move, and the approval by ministers of a bill that would cement an ultra-Orthodox monopoly over conversion to Judaism in Israel, were undermining activists’ “incentive to work for Israel” and had prompted a crisis of faith. The prime minister heard that senior officials, activists and donors were threatening to leave the lobby, the TV report said.

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