CAMERA this week prompted correction of an Associated Press article which incorrectly reported that there is no egalitarian prayer area at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews are permitted to pray. The Dec. 10 article (“Natan Sharansky receives Israel’s prestigious Genesis Prize“) had erred:
Sharansky attempted to broker a compromise that would have allowed liberal streams of Judaism that are popular overseas to have an egalitarian prayer area at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. The plan was abandoned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. . .
Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett, who established the current egalitarian prayer area four years ago, called the government decision unfortunate, but not a major disaster. . .Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharanky, who masterminded the plan to expand and normalize the egalitarian area, called on the government to reverse course, saying the move undermines Jewish unity. . . .The dramatic about-face at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting followed the initial approval of the plan in January 2016 to officially recognize the special mixed-gender prayer area at the Western Wall. . . .Under the plan the egalitarian area would be expanded and receive a more central entrance alongside entrances to the current male and female prayer sites. (Emphasis added.)
In that role, Sharansky attempted to broker a compromise that would have developed and upgraded a small egalitarian prayer area at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. The plan was welcomed by liberal streams of Judaism popular overseas, but was frozen byIsraeliPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu under pressure from ultra-Orthodox allies who oppose mixed-gender prayers. Sharansky, 71, stepped down from the agency last year.