The latest plan released by the Israeli government regarding the new prayer area at the Western Wall has sparked more controversy among Reform Jews and especially the Women of the Wall (WoW).
According to an August 26 article on JNS.org, "The Israeli government released a plan on Sunday to oversee the development of a new, temporary egalitarian space adjacent to the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem, to be called the 'Israeli section' or 'Israeli extension'.
"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, at which point a permanent egalitarian area would be built.
"Women of the Wall—the group that seeks egalitarian prayer services in the Western Wall’s women’s section—dismissed the initiative, which was drawn up by Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett and Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mendelblit, on the grounds that it doesn't offer egalitarian access to the wall itself.
"'The current plaza, essentially a raised platform on scaffolding, has no connection to the sanctity of the Western Wall. It’s a ‘sundeck,’ looking out on the Western Wall from afar. It’s not conducive to any of the symbolic elements of [the Wall], touching the Wall or placing a note inside of it. It’s an embarrassing solution, which keeps more than 50 percent of Israelis in the backyard,' said Anat Hoffman, chairman of Women of the Wall." Click here to read the full article.
As a result of the announcement of the new plan, WoW announced a 24-hour vigil at the Kotel in protest. Anat Hoffman made a statement on YouTube explaining the event. Click here to view it.
See more photos and videos here from the sit-in.
Many articles have been published on the subject internationally. Here are a few that may be of interest.