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Netanyahu must choose between ultra-Orthodox and US Jews

Jewish leaders from the United States and France made it clear to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: You must choose between a coalition alliance with the ultra-Orthodox or the strategic alliance of Israel with world Jewry.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Coex/Pool - RTS19JBA
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to beat a hasty retreat from the Conversion Law (rejecting Reform and Conservative conversions) after it was passed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on June 26. At a tense meeting with the leaders of the coalition parties on June 30, Netanyahu announced that he was putting the law on hold for six months and forming a committee to study it further. The ultra-Orthodox ministers stormed out of the meeting but later reached an agreement with the prime minister. But the affair is far from being over; Netanyahu will yet hear from them. It is safe to assume that the suspension of the Western Wall compromise, which provided non-Orthodox Jews with a separate prayer space along the southern part of the Western Wall, will be reconsidered now, too.

As a result of these two decisions, the Israeli government was inundated last week by a Jewish tsunami that no one could have anticipated. It involved everyone from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to the Jewish Federations of North America to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to heads of various communities and denominations. Jews around the world were up in arms. They lambasted Netanyahu and his right-wing-Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox coalition and set boundaries for it.

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