On the Western Wall and the Conversion Bill
By Masorti Judaism
Masorti Judaism condemns the Israeli government’s decisions to cancel arrangements for egalitarian prayer at the Kotel and to give the ultra-Orthodox chief rabbinate a monopoly over conversion to Judaism.
Last Sunday, the Israeli cabinet cancelled a government-approved plan to establish a pluralistic prayer pavilion at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, under pressure from ultra-Orthodox religious parties. The pluralistic space was designed to host Reform and Masorti services as well as women’s prayer groups, which are banned from holding services at the main Kotel plaza.
In a separate meeting, ministers voted for legislation to ban State authorities from recognising any conversions to Judaism other than those conducted by the ultra-Orthodox Chief Rabbinate.
Matt Plen, Chief Executive of Masorti Judaism in the UK said: “With these decisions, Prime Minister Netanyahu is undermining Israel’s mission to be the homeland of the whole Jewish people for narrow, political gain. Just as we stand with Israel, we expect the Israeli government to show respect for us as Jews.”
Read the worldwide Masorti movement’s response here.
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What can you do?
Write to Mark Regev, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Prime Minister Netanyahu to protest this decision. You can contact Ambassador Regev at email@example.com and Prime Minister Netanyahu at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can use this sample text:
I am writing as a member of the Masorti movement in the UK to protest in the strongest terms the recent decision by the Israeli government to cancel the arrangements for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall. I am also deeply concerned about the government’s decision to re-establish the chief rabbinate’s monopoly on conversion in Israel.
Israel is the homeland of the entire Jewish people and it is the government’s sacred task to defend the rights of all Jews within the Jewish state. The recent decisions fly in the face of this principle and give priority to the religious convictions of a small, intolerant minority.
We have a strong relationship with Israel and we stand with the Jewish State in times of crisis. It is incumbent on the government to uphold this relationship by showing Diaspora Jews of all religious denominations the respect they deserve.
I call on the government to reverse these decisions.