Jerusalem And The Western Wall: Is This What Reform Wants?

Think outside the box when looking for solutions to the current fissure in the Israel-Diaspora relationship.

Many American Jews, some of whom are Zionists, say they feel like they have been slapped in the face when Netanyahu cancelled the agreement reached regarding the egalitarian prayer section along the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the retaining wall of The Temple Mount, our most sacred site. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism in North America, was clear about this:

“The decision cannot be seen as anything other than a betrayal, . . . .”

Media sites and social media have been buzzing from this resounding slap in the face, most loudly from American Jews. You have read it all so I will not repeat all that here. I will get directly to my point. But first, let me state that I find it disingenuous to claim that plans to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall were scrapped when that space has already existed for over 10 years. The agreement called for opening another entrance to the existing space via the Kotel Plaza and handing over control of that space to the Reform and Conservative Movements. At least get the facts straight!

Reform Movement Position On Jerusalem

Rabbi Rick Jacobs, on behalf of the Reform Movement he leads, feels betrayed by the Israeli government’s decision. And this is the same Rabbi Rick Jacobs who, in December of last year,

put out a statement warning the [USA] administration against moving the embassy without the Palestinians’ consent.

In other words, Rabbi Rick Jacobs seems to believe that Jerusalem is not necessarily Israeli.

And Rabbi Rick Jacobs feels betrayed? Members of the Reform and Conservative Movements feel betrayed? Unaffiliated American Jews feel betrayed? So let me ask you something:

Question to Those Who Feel Betrayed By Israel Over the Western Wall Issue

Do you know that American documentation for children born in Jerusalem to your fellow Americans who are also Israeli citizens lists Jerusalem as place of birth, and not Israel? Birth places for American children born everywhere in the world are listed as country of birth, except for those born in Jerusalem. To America, Jerusalem is not in Israel. Did you ever raise your voice against this injustice? Louder! I cannot hear you!

Or, perhaps you do not see this as an injustice. If you believe that Jerusalem needs to be divided, then perhaps you do not believe Israel should have sovereignty over the Old City.

If that is true, then why the heck are you bellyaching at us?

Instead of complaining about not getting a new entrance to the egalitarian prayer space through the Kotel Plaza, perhaps you should be complaining that Israel has no right to divvy up the space at all, since it is not hers to divvy. Perhaps you should join all those who are pressuring Israel to give away Judea & Samaria and Eastern Jerusalem (well, I think many of you are doing that already).

If you succeed, I wonder if you will then be happy with the access you will be granted to the Western Wall, to pray happily with your families alongside you, just as you are allowed by the Jordanian Waqf to do on the Temple Mount today. Is THAT what you have in mind?

This was originally published on Israel Diaries.


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