Orthodox group asks for no compromise on Kotel

The American Orthodox group, Am Echad, sent a letter on Friday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him not to expand an egalitarian prayer site at the Western Wall.

They also sent the letter to Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who replaced Culture Minister Miri Regev on the Ministerial Committee on Holy Sites.

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The group brought a group of 40 members to meet with Netanyahu in February and asked that when the Israeli government consults with Diaspora Jewry, they be part of that conversation.

“One such time is now,” they wrote to Netanyahu and Steinitz. “American Reform and Conservative groups are pressuring your government to create a larger, expansive and expensive prayer area on the southern end of the Western Wall. Some among those groups want even more than that. Plans have been circulated to reconstruct the entire Western Wall Plaza to given them more space and credibility. All this is for groups whose members rarely come to Israel, much less to the Western Wall.”

The group asked Netanyahu and Steinitz to take into account the views of what they called “commtted American Jews, those come regularly to pray at this most holy site.”

They asked Netanyahu and Steinitz to follow the lead of Regev, who declined to authorize plans to change anything at the Western Wall.

Netanyahu convened with the ministerial committee last Sunday, but a scheduled vote did not take place, and no decision was made.