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Anat Hoffman and another woman at the Entrance to Kotel; from Women of the Wall.(Photo by: MICHAL PATELLE - WOMEN OF THE WALL / CC BY-SA 3.0 VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Bitan assures US Jewish leaders that Kotel crisis will be resolved
"Like everything in Israel, things take time," coalition chairman tells JAFI Board of Governors members.
Coalition Chairman David Bitan assured members of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors of the importance of Diaspora Jewry to Israel, and a willingness to resolve the crises between them.

His comments on Tuesday were made on the third and final day of the board’s autumn meetings in Jerusalem, which largely focused on the canceled agreement for a state-recognized egalitarian prayer section at the Western Wall, as well as a bid by ultra-Orthodox parties to give the Chief Rabbinate a total monopoly over Jewish conversions in Israel.

Bitan (Likud) and MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) co-chair the Caucus for Strengthening the Jewish People and in this framework hosted the board members at the Knesset.

“I want to say that relations with US Jewry are very, very important to us. It’s true that it doesn’t always look like that... But we’re aware of your influence in America and your influence on Israel. But we also have internal problems,” Bitan said. “But these things will, at the end of the day, be resolved. Like everything in Israel, things take time. So I hope that next year when we sit here, it will be after the crises and with solutions.”

“I do hope that this is the last time we are meeting in a situation of crisis,” said Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, who spearheaded the Western Wall agreement.

“But I have to warn you that the crisis continues...

Four months ago there were two very problematic decisions: one about the Kotel, one about the conversions. Four months have passed... but there is no progress. So we do ask our MKs do take these issues very seriously.

It’s not about opposition, it’s not about coalition - it’s about the unity of the Jewish people and Israel being the home for all Jews.”

Shai said, “This meeting of the Board of Governors and the Knesset Caucus for the Strengthening of the Jewish People shows great innovation. Jewish leadership in the world via the Jewish Agency is no longer on the fence, it is also active in the political arena... This is a welcome new process.”

He also spoke of how the caucus advances issues of Diaspora Jews among MKs and strengthens the bond between Jewish communities around the world and Israel.
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