Source: Associated Press
By ARON HELLER
JERUSALEM (AP) — Two high-profile groups of Jewish leaders on Monday canceled meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest his government’s decision to scrap plans for a mixed-gender prayer area at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.
The dramatic moves reflected the widening gulf that has opened between Israel and the Jewish diaspora over how Judaism can be practiced in Israel. Most American Jews belong to the more liberal Reform and Conservative streams and feel alienated by Israel’s ultra-Orthodox authorities, which question their faith and practices.
The board of governors of The Jewish Agency, a nonprofit that works closely with the Israeli government to serve Jewish communities worldwide, said it was calling off its dinner with Netanyahu and altering the agenda of its annual meetings to address the crisis.
A delegation of Reform leaders from Israel and North America announced that it too had canceled a meeting with Netanyahu planned for Thursday.