Israel's gov't to preserve Western Wall's Orthodox character - Silman

Coalition Chairwoman Idit Silman: "Yes, there is a minority [of support for the compromise] and it is our role to make sure that its voice isn't strong and significant and that it does not prevail."

 THE MASSES pray at the Western Wall during Sukkot. (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
THE MASSES pray at the Western Wall during Sukkot.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Coalition Chairwoman MK Idit Silman said on Saturday that the issue of implementing the “Kotel Compromise” isn’t something that will happen during this coalition, because “much of it is one big demagoguery,” she told KAN 11 news.

The goal of the current government is to preserve the orthodox character of the Western Wall, she said.

“If we look at the people of Israel in general, most of them aren’t in this state of mind [to implement the compromise],” she said. “Yes, there is a minority [of support] and it is our role to make sure that its voice isn’t strong and significant and that it does not prevail.”

“The Kotel Compromise represents a suitable solution that addresses the needs of everyone who wishes to pray at the Western Wall,” the Israeli Reform movement said in response.

“The Netanyahu government approved the outline but withdrew it due to pressure from extremists. The current government has stated and committed to compromise solutions,” it said. “Therefore, we expect that there will be no surrender to the extremist voices and that the government will make the Western Wall an open and respectful place of prayer for every Jew.”

 Dr. Yizhar Hess, Deputy and Acting Chairman of the World Zionist Organization. (credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM) Dr. Yizhar Hess, Deputy and Acting Chairman of the World Zionist Organization. (credit: SHLOMI AMSALEM)

Women of the Wall added that “The things that have been said have no basis in the proposed compromise.

“The Kotel Compromise explicitly states that the Western Wall will remain Orthodox and that the ‘Ezrat Israel’ [the egalitarian prayer section] will be an egalitarian place of worship for all those who wish to do so. The compromise states that the Kotel will be a place of prayer for Women of the Wall and worshipers of the Reform and Conservative movements.”

Dr. Yizhar Hess, deputy chairman of the World Zionist Organization responded as well: “Idit Silman’s remarks are very disappointing. This is not only an unfortunate statement, but also a perception that reflects a cultural decline.

“The ‘Government of Change’ of which Silman is one of its deputies, was willing to go a long way – and rightly so – toward the Arab public in Israel. Is it not possible to show the same partnership for the benefit of the Jewish people with the same generosity?” he asked.

“Either way, I await clarification from Prime Minister [Naftali] Bennett. I hope the things MK Silman said are not acceptable by him.”

Two months ago, Bennett admitted in an interview with The Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov that the Kotel Compromise will not be achievable while he’s running the government. The issue is a “controversial topic in this coalition,” he said, and that “we knew in advance that we cannot advance everything.

“We will only act with consensus… This government is meant to save the country and bring it back to function. It cannot fulfill everyone’s wishes.”

The prime minister said that members of his own Yamina Party oppose the plan to expand the egalitarian Ezrat Israel section at the Southern Wall and create a joint management committee with leaders of the Conservative and Reform Movements, and that members of New Hope are against it as well.

“Ezrat Israel is open and whoever wants to come and pray can do so.”