Since Haredi threats to break with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau’s government torpedoed a plan for an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall about two months ago, the Israeli government has been trying to craft a compromise deal that will satisfy both sides before a June 1 deadline. But so far government representatives have met just once, for less than an hour, with the activists who support the original plan, and only one more such meeting is in the works.
The first week of May, leaders of the Reform and Conservative Movements and the Women of the Wall, the activist prayer group advocating for female prayer rights at the holy Jewish site, met briefly with government representative David Sharan to demand the implementation of the original plan, a source in one of the non-Orthodox movements said. The week the deadline expires, a mission of Reform and Conservative leaders is coming from the United States to try to pressure the government, a development first reported by Haaretz .
Now, as the two-month window for deliberations draws to a close, the non-Orthodox movements and Women of the Wall are waiting to learn if the government will keep or scrap its promise, or extend its negotiations with the Haredi parties that object to the plan.
Anat Hoffman, director of Women of the Wall, said that she anticipates that the government will respond soon, in part because of the pending visit from the American delegation of Reform and Conservative leaders. Hoffman said she didn’t think the government would need to extend the deadline for another two months, although she didn’t rule out the possibility of an extension altogether.
Representatives of both American movements declined to comment for this article.
“Look, I’m a marathon runner,” Hoffman said. “It has been so long, with so many ups and downs and what a shame that it has taken so long to fix something so trivial. But it will be fixed and I will live to see it.”