(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The Israeli government released a plan
on Sunday to oversee the development of a new, temporary egalitarian space at
the Western Wall in Jerusalem to be called the “Israeli section” or “Israeli
extension.” The new area, which would be situated adjacent to the existing
plaza, was planned for nontraditional Jewish streams, including Women of the
The Western Wall. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Women of the Wall immediately dismissed the
initiative—drawn up by Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett and Cabinet Secretary
Avichai Mendelblit—saying, “The expansion has no connection to the sanctity of
the Western Wall.”
“I am not willing to have an internal dispute
among Jewish people at this holy site before Rosh Hashanah,” Bennett responded.
The government would build the new space at
Robinson’s Arch. It is meant to serve as a temporary solution until the Sharansky
plan—named after its author, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky—is
implemented and a permanent area is built.
Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office and Sharansky
worked together to complete plans for the permanent structure. Sharansky
welcomed Bennett’s plan as a temporary solution to the demands of Women of the
Wall and other nontraditional Jews seeking a more egalitarian space at the holy