Photo: Gal Balilti
Worshipers at Western Wall
Photo: Gal Balilti
Photo: Reuters
Western Wall
Photo: Reuters

Conservatives, want to pray? Pay NIS 30

Conservative movement petitions High Court over fact that its members had to pay NIS 30 at entrance to Robinson's Arch near the Western Wall

If you are members of the Conservative Movement and you want to pray near the Western Wall, it's advisable to pass by a cash machine and withdraw a few dozen shekels, otherwise you can't enter.


A petition submitted by the Conservative Movement to the High Court says that members of the movement, who arrived at Robinson's Arch to pray near the Wall, are forced to pay NIS 30 every time because it is an archeological site.


The Conservative movement has held prayers at Robinson's Arch for years, in accordance with an agreement reached after many arguments and clashes over intentions of the movement's members to pray at the Western Wall plaza itself.


Those intentions were met with fury by the ultra-Orthodox, who refused to allow joint prayers between men and women near the Western Wall. In the end, after disturbances by the ultra-Orthodox in the end of 1999, it was agreed that the Conservative movement would hold its prayer sessions at Robinson's Arch.


'Unpleasant phenomenon'


The agreement was kept until 2004, when according to Conservative movement members, the Society for the Development of East Jerusalem, which runs the site, began charging payment for worshippers seeking to enter Robinson's Arch after eight in the morning, since it was an archeological site.


"I also faced this unpleasant phenomenon," said Rabbi Tzvika Gertz, the Conservative community rabbi in the Gilo neighborhood in Jerusalem, who brings many groups of worshippers to the area. "We arrive to pray, and we have to tell the group with us: 'you are Jews of a special kind, you can't pray like every Jew at the Western Wall plaza.' And now, not only do we have to pray at a special place, we also have to pay for it. It's really like a stab now, it's simply outrageous. The feeling is that we are second rate."


He added: "We bring Jews from abroad and carry out a big mitzvah (commandment) of brining this special and important place closer, and the experience is damaged because worshippers are shown that they can't do this according to their way in a free way."


פרסום ראשון: 04.23.06, 16:57
 new comment
This will delete your current comment