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Ultra-Orthodox, Reformist Jews clash over prayer space at Western Wall

Progressive Judaism activists from Israel and the US are demanding Prime Minister Naftali Bennett implement the compromise on an egalitarian mixed-prayer space by the Western Wall, as was agreed under the former government.
Western wall

Verbal clashes broke out this morning at the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem's Old City, when activists of the Reform and Conservative Jewish movements and of the Women Of the Wall group arrived at the site, celebrating the new Hebrew month of Adar B. Facing them were thousands of ultra-Orthodox young men and women, there for the same purpose — and also to protest the activists.

The ultra-Orthodox were especially vexed to see Knesset member Gilad Kariv, a Reform rabbi, entering the site with a Torah scroll. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation requires worshipers to use the scrolls at the site, but it does not allow Women of the Wall activists to pray with them. As a Knesset member, Kariv said he had immunity to bring his own scroll in. After the clashes, Kariv said he intends to submit a complaint by the police, as some ultra-Orthodox youngsters told him in a veiled warning, ‘’Be careful, [assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak] Rabin looks for a friend.’’

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