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After 27 years, men and women will be able to pray together at Western Wall

After a long dispute, the ultra-Orthodox and progressive Judaism movements have reached a historic compromise on a mixed-gender praying space at the Western Wall.
Members of activist group "Women of the Wall" speak to the media following the Israeli government's approval to create a mixed-sex prayer plaza near Jerusalem's Western Wall to accommodate Jews who contest Orthodox curbs on worship by women at the site, in Jerusalem's Old City January 31, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen  - RTX24SM9
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The Israeli Cabinet made a historic decision Jan. 31 to designate a prayer section at the Western Wall for the non-Orthodox streams of Judaism — that is, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism and Women of the Wall. It is intended to serve as a pluralistic service area, free of gender segregation, allowing men and women to pray together without a separating partition. This is a great achievement for the non-Orthodox movements.

Although ultra-Orthodox representatives in the government opposed the plan, they have refrained from sparking a coalition crisis over it. A senior ultra-Orthodox figure speaking on condition of anonymity told Al-Monitor, “This is a painful compromise for us, but it's the lesser evil. Above all, we were concerned that the Supreme Court would rule on the petition filed by Women of the Wall and allow them to pray in the central service section, contrary to tradition.”

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