Press Release

ADL Welcomes Israeli Cabinet Decision Establishing Permanent Space at Western Wall for Mixed Gender Prayer

New York, NY, January 31, 2016 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the decision by Israel’s cabinet to establish a permanent and official space at the Western Wall for mixed gender prayer at Judaism’s holiest site.

The cabinet voted 15-5 to approve the long-negotiated plan to enable non-Orthodox Jews to perform services in their own manner, including egalitarian male-female prayer services, or all women prayer groups with women chanting the prayers and reading from the Torah. 

“This historic decision recognizes that Jews of every denomination now have a place to pray in a way which is most meaningful to them at Judaism’s most revered site,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “We heartily congratulate those who worked so tenaciously for the right to express their Judaism at the Western Wall, including the Women at the Wall and the Conservative and Reform Movements in Israel. We  further extend our appreciation to Natan Sharansky for spearheading this significant arrangement, and sending the message to Jews around the world that there is ‘one Kotel for one people.’ We fully appreciate that much remains to be done to further religious pluralism in Israel.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged Mr. Sharansky in December 2012 to seek a solution to the disputes between the ultra-Orthodox representatives who manage the Western Wall and non-Orthodox movements following reports that Anat Hoffman, the leader of Women of the Wall, had been mistreated and arrested after publicly reciting a prayer.