Jewish Agency board cancels dinner with Netanyahu following Western Wall decision


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors cancelled a scheduled dinner with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after an Israeli government decision to freeze a plan to create an egalitarian prayer section.

The Jewish Agency announced the cancellation on Monday of the dinner that was scheduled to take place the same day. The statement also said that the group would change its entire agenda for the remaining two days of its meetings in Jerusalem “in order to address the ramifications of these decisions.”

A ceremony to kick off the Board of Governors meeting scheduled for Monday at the Knesset also was cancelled.

The Jewish Agency also announced on Monday that it had unanimously adopted a resolution calling on the Israeli government to reverse its decision to suspend the deal and its decision to move to the Knesset plenum for a vote a bill that would only recognize conversions completed under the auspices of the haredi Orthodox-dominated Chief Rabbinate.


The resolution said that the proposed conversion bill “has the devastating potential to permanently exclude hundreds of thousands of Israelis from being a part of the Jewish people.” It also said the board “deplores” the decision to freeze the Western Wall agreement, that would “establish the Kotel as a unifying symbol for Jews around the world, as stated: ‘One Wall for One People’.”

“The Government of Israel’s decisions have a deep potential to divide the Jewish people and to undermine the Zionist vision and dream of Herzl, Ben-Gurion, and Jabotinsky to establish Israel as a national home for the entire Jewish people,” the resolution also said.

The newly installed chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, Michael Siegal, on Monday told Haaretz that the Jewish Agency would reevaluate its relationship with the Israeli government.

Also on Monday, the heads of the Reform movement in the United States and Israel said it would cancel a meeting scheduled for Thursday with Netanyahu in the wake of the Western Wall decision, Haaretz reported. The meeting had been arranged several weeks ago.