Visitors to the egaliarian prayer section of the Western Wall have been margenalized since July 2018, when a stone detached itself from the southern section of the Western Wall onto the plaza.
The falling block just missed a woman praying under it. Since the incident, visitors have been blocked from arriving at the plaza, created for egalitarian prayers.
Though Jerusalem authorities have closed the area for repairs – it seems that they have gone on longer than expected.
Many within non-Orthodox Jewish circles believe that the current state of affairs is a deliberate action by officials on the site to keep visitor away.
"I find no other explanation", said Dr. Yizhar Hess, CEO of the Conservative Judaism movement in Israel, during an interview with YNET.
"It's been more than a year since that stone fell on our heads, and the government does not seemed to be even trying to fix what demands fixing. Something that should have lasted no longer than a few months at most, has dragged on for a year and four months".
The egalitarian plaza, also known as the "Families' Kotel", is the southern end of the Western Wall.
In 2013 the government allocated that section following an appeal by the various liberal and non-Orthodox Jewish organizations for a
area for them to practice their kind of non-Orthodox ritual
Since its creation, the plaza has been a point of contention with the Orthodox Jewish establishment, who views the plaza as blasphemous and has tried on numerous occasions to stop mixed prayers of men and women, from taking place there.
"Families celebrate here without any partition between women and men", said Hess.
"They (The Orthodox-Jews) see us as a threat to them, because more and more parishioners come to pray at our section of the wall".
"Therefore", he stated, "There is an invested interest to keep the renovations running for ever, blocking us from reaching the plaza. Imagine if a similar incident happened in the more familiar plaza to the north. It would have been repaired in a matter of days, with shifts running in 24-hour cycles".
The plaza has received not only backlash from Orthodox elements, but also from the Israel Antiquities Authority. Even the "Women of the Wall" a feminist organization whose goal is to secure the rights of women to pray at the Western Wall, singing and reading aloud from the Torah, have called the plaza a "tanning balcony".
As result of the ongoing repairs, people have not been able carry out one of the most well-known traditions at the West Wall - inserting prayers on notes between the stones.
As a solution, the Jewish Conservative Movement has launched a special site to send prayers to.
"We will print all the prayers once a week and insert them into the egalitarian section of the wall", said Hess.
"It's not the most ideal method, but at least it gives answer to those who souls cherish the wall and its stones".
Government official tell Ynet "The preliminary survey of the stones has been done. We have found several stones demanding repair in order ensure the safety of visitors to the plaza."
They add that work will continue around the clock.