Statement on Behalf of the Worldwide Masorti/Conservative Movement on the Israeli Government’s Decision to Freeze Egalitarian Kotel Agreement
Following Sunday’s announcement that the Israeli government had frozen a plan to create an egalitarian prayer section of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the Conservative/ Masorti movement, as represented by the Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, MERCAZ Olami, Masorti Olami and the Masorti Movement in Israel, issued the following statement:
In January 2016 the government of Israel signed an agreement to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall. Only 17 months later, the very same government voted to suspend that compromise plan. The Conservative/ Masorti movement, speaking as a whole, deplores this action, yet another failure to uphold an agreement reached after years of negotiations.
Simultaneous to the government’s reneging on the Kotel agreement, a new conversion bill is moving toward granting official authority for conversion in Israel to the Rabbanut (Chief Rabbinate), thus risking placing in its hands power over the Law of Return, as well. Such action always has been viewed as unwise and counter to both Zionist and democratic principles and would be disastrous for world Jewry for generations to come.
Because we love Israel and see the rising influence of an intolerant religious establishment as an existential threat to its future and to the unity of the Jewish people we will not rest until these decisions not only are overturned but also Israel fulfills the promise of its Zionist origins and founding declaration to “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex” and to “guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.”
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Masorti Movement in Israel