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Statement on Western Wall

The Zionist Federation of Australia strongly endorses the resolution which was unanimously supported by the Jewish Agency for Israel yesterday regarding the Knesset decisions on the issues of conversion and on egalitarian prayer spaces at the Kotel.

ZFA President, Dr Danny Lamm (who is currently attending the board of governors meetings at the Jewish Agency for Israel in Jerusalem) said:

“News of these decisions has reverberated through the conference and the proposed agenda has been suspended in order to deal with the issues.

As I write, I am with a delegation from the board of governors at Knesset, meeting with a broad coalition of Knesset members across the board, making representations to the government to review and rescind the decisions. The conversion decision will potentially have disastrous impact on hundreds of thousands of olim who have converted through authorities other than the Haredi Chief Rabbinate. The decision to freeze implementation of the creation of an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel has alienated many diaspora and Israeli Jews, who have been eagerly anticipating its creation over the past few years – it is a decision which has the potential to create divisions rather than the unity which is the cornerstone of the Jewish Agency’s mission.”

Jewish Agency Board of Governors Unanimously Denounces Government Decisions on Western Wall and Conversion, Calls on Government to Reverse Course


 JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – The Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel, composed of the leaders of Jewish organizations and communities in Israel and around the world, has unanimously adopted the following resolution:

Whereas the Jewish Agency for Israel, representing world Jewry through its constituent members, the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod, is gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, the liberation of the Western Wall and the founding of the Zionist movement in Basel 120 years ago; and

Whereas the Jewish Agency for Israel throughout its history has been the organization responsible for bringing olim to the State of Israel and connecting Israel and world Jewry; and

Whereas the proposed conversion bill that would cement the Chief Rabbinate’s monopoly on conversion has the devastating potential to permanently exclude hundreds of thousands of Israelis from being a part of the Jewish people; and

Whereas we deplore yesterday’s decision by Government of Israel which contradicts the agreement reached with the Jewish Agency and other parties to establish the Kotel as a unifying symbol for Jews around the world, as stated: ‘ONE WALL FOR ONE PEOPLE’; and

Whereas the Government of Israel’s decisions have a deep potential to divide the Jewish people and to undermine the Zionist vision and dream of Herzl, Ben-Gurion, and Jabotinsky to establish Israel as a national home for the entire Jewish people; and

Whereas we declare that we cannot and must not allow this to happen and we are committed to mobilizing our constituencies for their continued support of the people and state of Israel;

Therefore, be it resolved that

We call upon each Member of the Knesset and all elected public officials to take all necessary action to ensure that these dangerous and damaging steps are halted; and

We will continue to build a broad coalition of Israelis, together with partners from around the world, who care passionately about keeping our people united and who are committed to the unity of the Jewish people; and

We call upon the Government of Israel to understand the gravity of its steps and reverse its course of action accordingly.