[VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE]
Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett visited the Kosel and the new Ezrat Yisrael section in his capacity as minister of religious services. The new section was announced by Bennett earlier in the week, working with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Jewish Agency for Israel to establish the area intended to accommodate 450 people wishing to take part in tefilos in which men and women are not separated, a “third Kosel area” as he puts it.
To Bennett’s dismay, the Women of the Wall organization was quick to reject the new Ezrat Yisrael area, announcing a 24-hour Kosel sit-in to highlight their disapproval of the concept. Nevertheless, Bennett is not backing down for he explains this give WoW and others wishing such a service an option by the Kosel without challenging the gender separated areas that have existed at the Kosel over the years.
In his video message, Bennett attempts to highlight the historical significance of the area selected in an apparent effort to persuade Women of the Wall to accept the compromise solution.
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(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)