Women of the Wall present demands for solution to prayer rights issue

Group will "reluctantly" give up right to pray in the women's section of the main prayer area, if demands are met.

October 28, 2013 19:34
1 minute read.
Women of the Wall, October 4, 2013.

Women on the Wall 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

The Women of the Wall activist group formally announced on Monday a list of demands it would be making ahead of a meeting with cabinet secretary Avichai Mendelblit to reach a solution for its ongoing battle for equal prayer rights at the Western Wall.

If all of the demands are met and an agreeable solution is found, Women of the Wall chair Anat Hoffman said that the group would give up its right to pray in the women's section of the main Western Wall plaza.

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The organization said in September that it would be willing to relocate its prayer services to a pluralistic section on condition that certain requirements for such an area are realized.

Speaking to the press on Monday, Hoffman said that principle among the demands was that the new prayer area will form one contiguous space, touching the Western Wall itself, accessible from the main plaza and at the same height as the Western Wall plaza as it is known today.

Hoffman said however, that WoW was willing to be flexible on the height of the prayer area.

The Robinson's Arch area, just south of the main plaza, is significantly lower than the Western Wall prayer area.

Hoffman said it was also critical that the new prayer area be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and that this was another demand that must be fulfilled to satisfy the group.

WoW will also insist that the Western Wall Heritage Foundation which runs the main plaza will not have administrative authority over the new prayer area.

Hoffman said that the organization will demand that a separate administrative body be set up to manage the prayer area comprised of people sympathetic to pluralist prayer.

If its demands are met and an agreement is reached, Hoffman said that the group would reluctantly give up its right to pray in the women's section of the main prayer area.

Earlier this year, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that women could pray unhindered with prayer shawls and tefillin in the women's section, which had been prohibited by law and enforced by police arrest.

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