Israeli President Reuven Rivlin published an open letter today in response to the controversy generated by the cabinet decision to suspend the agreement reached in 2016 to create an expanded section for egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall.
Rivlin wrote: “As a child, I used to walk with my father to the Kotel (Western Wall) each year to hear the shofar blown at the end of Yom Kippur, at a time when Jerusalem was under the British Mandate. I still remember arriving at the crowded area packed with worshippers, while among them waited uniformed British policemen. The tense silence was eventually broken by the cry of the shofar that sounded strongly despite the British policemen who immediately rushed forward to silence the shofar blower who was closely surrounded by his fellow worshippers. For me, this event was a symbol of the eternal faith of our People.
“Since then we have all been involved in reconstructing our homeland. During this process we inevitably have to face difficult disputes among us, disputes that are both painful and yet very real, founded in genuine belief. Even so, we must remember that beyond the disagreements, we are all one family and that every Jew has a special place in their heart for the Kotel, the last remnant of our Holy Temple.
“The State of Israel is the state of all the Jewish people and will continue to be faithful to that commitment. Our fellow Jews in the Diaspora have an important and significant role in the building of the State of Israel. This has always been so, and will continue to be so. The unity of the Jewish People must always remain an important aspiration of the governments of Israel.”