Ahead of the High Court of Justice’s hearing next week on arrangements for mixed-gender prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism has launched a huge billboard campaign in the Tel Aviv region. Drivers on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv now pass large billboards with the slogan “A Jew does not expel a Jew from the Western Wall.”
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism said, “Most of the Israeli public opposes the unbridled monopoly of the rabbinical establishment at the Western Wall, and on other issues, including marriage and divorce proceedings, kashrut supervision and burials. Israel’s Jewish public and Israeli Jewry deserve a lot more.”
At the end of June, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet reversed an earlier decision to establish a new pavilion at Jerusalem’s Western Wall where egalitarian prayers could be held. The decision to create the space was a compromise agreement negotiated by Jewish Agency chief Natan Sharansky. Israel’s Reform and Conservative movement have petitioned the High Court of Justice on the matter. They demand that the Kotel belong to all Jews and not belong exclusively to the ultra-Orthodox.