eJP has learned that the proposal for an egalitarian/pluralistic area of the Kotel will include supervision by The Jewish Agency, a quasi-government organization headquartered in Jerusalem. This previously unreported news was apparently discussed at a meeting earlier this week in New York where Natan Sharansky briefed members of the various North American streams. If correct it represents a significant addition to the mission of the organization.
It is currently unknown to what extent – if any – Sharansky, tasked by the Prime Minister with recommending a solution to the current tensions, has discussed this oversight with members of The Jewish Agency’s executive leadership. It has not been subject to any Board discussion. The Board next meets in Kiev during the last week of June and in Jerusalem during November.
Considering that The Agency is the only organization where all the streams and interested parties sit at the same table there is certainly rationale behind this proposal. However, in practice the Chair of the Agency serves at the pleasure of the Prime Minister raising the question of what impact any cabinet decision or government coalition will have on the operational activities of the organization.
The Agency, who has been insisting all week that Sharansky was acting solely as a representative of the Prime Minister and not as Chair of the Jewish Agency Executive, has not responded to a request to comment.
It should be also noted that while Sharansky has given several press interviews over the past several days, neither Sharansky himself, The Agency, or the Prime Minister’s office has offered any specifics on the proposed plans, costs, implementation etc.