Jewish U.S. senators urge Netanyahu to protect pluralism in Israel

Haredi Jews try to prevent a group of American Conservative and Reform rabbis and Women of the Wall members from bringing Torah scrolls into the Western Wall compound during a protest march in the Old City of Jerusalem, Nov. 2, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Haredi Jews try to prevent a group of American Conservative and Reform rabbis and Women of the Wall members from bringing Torah scrolls into the Western Wall compound during a protest march in the Old City of Jerusalem, Nov. 2, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

(JTA) – Bernie Sanders is among seven Jewish U.S. senators who sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urging him to implement an agreement to expand an egalitarian prayer plaza at the Western Wall.

Netanyahu’s cabinet put a hold in June on the deal passed in 2016, drawing the ire of North American Jewish leaders. [Read more…]

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Netanyahu says non-Orthodox Jews used Western Wall deal to gain recognition

(JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel of using their partnership in the Western Wall agreement as a clandestine way to gain recognition.

Netanyahu told reporters in New York on Monday night that the Reform and Conservative movements wanted to get recognition “via the backdoor, secretly, under the pretext of a technical clause of joint administration of the Western Wall,” Army Radio reporter Ilil Shahar said in a tweet. [Read more…]

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Former chief rabbi of Israel calls Reform Jews worse than Holocaust deniers

Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, then Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi, visiting Granada’s Alhambra, May 31, 2011. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)
Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, then Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi, visiting Granada’s Alhambra, May 31, 2011. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

Jerusalem Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, then Israel’s chief Sephardi rabbi, visiting Granada’s Alhambra, May 31, 2011. (Jorge Guerrero/AFP/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Shlomo Amar called Reform Jews worse than Holocaust deniers because they reject traditional Jewish law.

Amar, who is a former chief rabbi of Israel, in his weekly class last week referenced the Israel Supreme Court decision, handed down hours earlier, in which it called on the government to either reinstate the Western Wall agreement with non-Orthodox groups or explain why it should not force the state to honour the deal. [Read more…]

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Israeli government must reinstate Western Wall deal or explain why it won’t, Supreme Court orders

Anat Hoffman being arrested after saying the Shema prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Oct. 16, 2012. (Women of the Wall)

Anat Hoffman being arrested after saying the Shema prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Oct. 16, 2012. (Women of the Wall)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Supreme Court has ordered the government to either reinstate the Western Wall agreement with non-Orthodox groups or explain why it should not force the state to honour the deal.

“One can’t help but ask ‘What exactly happened here?’” Chief Justice Miriam Naor said at a hearing Thursday. “There was an agreement, they were working on it. But then the government came and said there isn’t one. It raises some questions.” [Read more…]

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Netanyahu calls body searches of female worshippers at Western Wall ‘unacceptable’

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Body searches of female worshipers at the entrance to the Western Wall are “unacceptable,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu asked Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan to look into accusations that at least four female rabbinical students were subject to body searches while attempting to enter the Western Wall Plaza, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement issued Friday morning. [Read more…]

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Women at Western Wall for egalitarian service asked by security to lift shirts, skirts

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Four female students from Hebrew Union College, including two Americans, were asked to lift their shirts and skirts for security before being allowed to enter the Western Wall plaza.

The women were part of a group of 15 rabbinical, cantorial and Jewish education students from North America and Australia who joined about 200 men and women in an egalitarian service held Wednesday morning on the plaza behind the men’s and women’s sections. [Read more…]

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Chief Rabbinate challenges Israeli Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to rule on Western Wall egalitarian section

Members of Women of the Wall dance with a Torah scroll as they attend their monthly prayer services at the Western Wall, April 20, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Members of Women of the Wall dance with a Torah scroll as they attend their monthly prayer services at the Western Wall, April 20, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel’s Chief Rabbinate said the country’s Supreme Court lacks the jurisdiction to rule on the “intrareligious” struggle involving egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall.

In a 166-page brief filed Tuesday with the Supreme Court, the Chief Rabbinate said in part, “The courts are not the appropriate tribunal to decide if Jewish law can be changed and the holy sites can be desecrated.” [Read more…]

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Record number of Jews visit Temple Mount

A group of Jewish worshippers at the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem, Nov. 7, 2016. (Sebi Berens/Flash90)

A group of Jewish worshippers at the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem, Nov. 7, 2016. (Sebi Berens/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) – More than 1,000 Jews visited the Temple Mount, a new record for number of Jewish visitors in one day.

At least 1,046 Jews visited the site on Tuesday, the observance of Tisha B’Av, by early afternoon. More were expected to visit later in the day when the site reopens to visitors, Haaretz reported, citing Jewish Temple Mount activists. [Read more…]

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Western Wall heckling worse than ever for monthly service, Women of the Wall says

JERUSALEM (JTA) – More than 100 women who assembled for the Women of the Wall’s monthly Rosh Chodesh service at the Western Wall faced more intense heckling than ever, the group said.

The women, who smuggled in a small Torah scroll for the service, were attacked verbally and physically, the group said in a statement issued Monday, hours after the service in the women’s section of the Western Wall plaza. [Read more…]

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