Source: Associated Press
By ARON HELLER
JERUSALEM (AP) — A senior ultra-Orthodox Israeli lawmaker on Tuesday dismissed the protestations of liberal Jews over alternative access to Jerusalem’s Western Wall as provocations, saying they don’t even believe in the sanctity of the site.
Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen of the Shas party said worship practices at the site — a retaining wall of the compound where the biblical Jewish temples once stood — have been in place for centuries and not everyone can “come and change the rules.”
Leaders of the Reform and Conservative movements have canceled meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest his government’s decision to scrap plans for an expanded mixed-gender prayer area. They’re warning of an unprecedented crisis between Israel and the Jewish diaspora over the issue.
“The Western Wall doesn’t interest Reform Jews. They don’t believe in the Holy Temple,” Cohen told Israel’s Army Radio, expressing a view that many Reform Jews would take issue with.