The Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
On June 25, 2017, the government took another wrong turn. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers decided to freeze the pluralistic Western Wall agreement and not to promote any plans to build and renovate the egalitarian prayer area at the Wall.
The irony in this decision speaks for itself. A year and a half ago, this very government decided to establish the mixed-gender area at the Western Wall. Netanyahu himself explained on January 31, 2016, saying that this solution was appropriate and could finally unite the Jewish People.
So you might be wondering what has happened here exactly. How come the prime minister and his government flipped-flopped so rapidly and so radically? Well, nothing happened. Even after the government accepted the historic pluralistic agreement last year, it did nothing to implement it.
Once again, as it already has done at countless other opportunities, this government has failed to keep its word and has proven rather inefficient and irresponsible. Netanyahu’s government, much like Netanyahu himself, is perpetually afraid of coalition disagreements and paralyzed by the smallest signs of coalition crisis. As a result, whenever this government finds itself on the edge of deciding or implementing a major decision, it backs down and abandons any of its former principles.
This tragic pattern might actually be the good news for the Jewish Diaspora.
The massive political pressure that was put on this government by the ultra-Orthodox parties clearly did its part. Lacking any real vision for the future and just yearning to stay in office, Netanyahu gives in whenever some pressure is put on him, by anybody.
Already today, many of the leading worldwide Jewish progressive organizations, the Jewish Agency and the Israeli opposition have loudly denounced the government’s decision and urged the government to reinstate the Western Wall deal as soon as possible. In the days and weeks to come, this pressure must get stronger so the government can realize its mistake and change its unjust and unfair decision.
We cannot allow ourselves to give up now. The Israeli government has made a mistake, but the Jewish People has not. If we keep working together, both in Israel and around the world, I am certain that we will be able to change this decision and finally create a future in which every Jew will be free to practice his or her belief in heart of Jerusalem, in the holiest place of the Jewish faith, the Western Wall.The author is a member of Knesset for the Zionist Union Party.