Saturday, February 6, 2016

‘The Kotel compromise defused a strategic threat to US-Israel relationship’

Lahav Harkov,

image from

Former ambassador to the US MK Michael Oren looks at this week’s agreement to build an egalitarian section of the Western Wall with satisfaction.

‘The Kotel is supposed to unite the Jewish people,” MK Michael Oren (Kulanu) told The Jerusalem Post this week.
Speaking three days after Sunday’s historic cabinet vote to significantly expand the egalitarian prayer space at Robinson’s Arch, on the southern end of the Western Wall, Oren looked back on years of debate over the issue, in which he was deeply immersed.
Oren’s involvement in the Western Wall dispute began in 2009, as one of the first issues he dealt with after being appointed ambassador to the US, as clashes between Women of the Wall and the police became a monthly occurrence.
Oren did his due diligence, visiting the Western Wall every time he returned to Israel, to pray and to study the situation, and “became like a world expert on the Kotel [see],” he quipped.
Oren quickly realized that the matter wasn’t just a religion and state dispute a small group had with the Orthodox hegemony.
“I realized this was a strategic problem for Israel, not just a Jewish problem or a hasbara [public diplomacy] problem,” he recounted. ...

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