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February 12, 2016

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, FEBRUARY 12, 2016 PAGE 15A From page 1A control of the Orthodox sec- tion of the wall, but the Heri- tage Foundation wilt retain full authority over it and the larger plaza behind the prayer sections. And when the plan is implemented, Women of the Wall will move to the non-Orthodox section, one of the Heritage Foundation's long-standing demands. "They all came to the con- clusion that they must make serious compromises because they want it to remain one Kotel for one people," Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Nata Sharansky told JTA, usin e Hebrew term for the site. "It's the place that must unite us more than anything else, and it turned into the most ugly war." Plans for the non- Orthodox section's expansion, spear- headed by Sharansky, began in December 2012. In October of that year, police had ar- rested the Women of the Wall's chairwoman, Anat Hoffman, for wearing a tallit during the group's monthly service--an act that at the time was illegal at the site. Talks on a plan to expand the non-Orthodox section of the wall, located in an archaeological park known as Robinson's Arch, began in April 2013. Sharansky and outgoing Israeli Cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblit led the negotiations, which included representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements, the Heritage Foundation and Women of the Wall. Nearly three years later, the deal enacted Sunday calls for the creation of an "official and respected," 9,700-square foot prayer space in the non-Orthodox section of the Western Wall, running along a 31-foot segment of the wall, that Sharansky said will fit approximately 1,200 people. It will have a government- funded staff, Torah scrolls and other ritual objects, and be open to all forms of Jewish prayer. Sharansky estimated its construction could take up to two years. Even after it is completed, the non-Orthodox section will remain smaller than its Orthodox counterpart. The Orthodox section measures some 21,500 square feet, adjacent to a nearly 200-foot segment of the wall, and has some 27,000 visitors on an average day. The area is divided into two sections: a larger one for men and a smaller one for women. The rules prohibit women from reading from Torah scrolls in the Orthodox section. A committee composed of two Reform leaders, two Conservative leaders, two non-Orthodox women repre- sentatives, the Jewish Agency chairman and six government officials will run the non- Orthodox section. The Orthodox and non- Orthodox sections of the Western Wall will share an entrance near the Old City of Jerusalem's Dung Gate, one story above the Western Wall plaza's current entrance. Currently, the path to the non-Orthodox section is long, narrow and acces- sible only through a gateway tucked in a back corner of the plaza. The deal will create a wide and visible walkway to the section. The deal does not specify, however, whether there will be signs at the entrance informing visitors of the non- Orthodox section or anything else notifying visitors of its existence. "The vision of the new sec- tion of the Kotel is a physical and conceptual space open to all forms of Jewish prayer," a statement from Women of the Wall read. "Instead of split- ting up the existing pie into ever more divided, smaller pieces, we are making the pie much larger and sharing the new space." The Western Wall's haredi management, headed by Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, has long pushed for Women of the Wall to leave the site. Under the deal, the women's group has agreed to move to the non-Orthodox sec- tion only once the deal is implemented. And a faction of Women of the Wall has vowed not to budge from the Orthodox section--regard- less of what the deal says. The Western Wall's reli- gious status has been under contention for decades. Wom- Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images The Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem on a rainy day, Oct. 25, 2015. en of the Wall was founded in 1988 to advance women's prayer at the site, which is prohibited under haredi Orthodox Jewish law. Until 2013, much of the group's activity contravened the Heri- tage Foundation's regulations and thus was illegal. Police regularly detained members of the group. Non-Orthodox groups also suffered persecution at the site. In 1997, an egalitarian Conservative Shavuot cele- bration behind the prayer sec- tion was attacked by protesters throwing bottles, diapers and refuse at the worshippers. The incident led to the establish- ment of the non-Orthodox prayer section at Robinson's Arch in 2000. Following an international backlash to Hoffman's 2012 arrest, Prime Minister Ben- jamin Netanyahu tasked Sharansky with forging a compromise solution to the dispute. An outline Sharansky proposed in April 2013 called for the non-Orthodox section to be equal in size and eleva- tion to the Orthodox section, but it proved unworkable due to objections from the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Waqf, the Islamic body that governs the Temple Mount. In August 2013, Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Ben- nett tried for an interim solution by building a 4,800 square-foot platform that created more space in the non- Orthodox section. Women of the Wall rejected the platform, calling it a "sundeck." Now the architects of Sunday's com- promise hope that all sides of the debate will be able to put their differences behind them for the sake of the Western Wall's symbolism. "This contains the hope that the Western Wall will no longer be an arena for disputes, and will regain the uniting character that befits its special place for the entire Jewish people," the agreement reads. "May this also bring peace among us." From page 4A to Goldberg, not Eizenkot, because Eizenkot didn't say anything of the sort. Indeed, reading Goldberg's piece, I was struck by the absence of key quotes from Eizenkot's speech--an as- tounding omission given his assertion that the very same speech amounts to a "point-by-point refutation of Bibi-ism." For example, Ei- zenkot expressly said, "Their vision of obtaining a nuclear weapon will continue inso- far as Iran views itself as a regional power," which most observers would regard as an indictment of the deal, rather than an endorsement. In similar vein, when Goldberg discussed Eizenkot's views on the threats posed by terrorist organizations like Hamas, He- zbollah, and Islamic State, he neglected to quote the IDF's chief of staff's statement that Iran "manages a war against Israel by means of proxies such as Hezbollah, which today represents the most serious threat to Israel." In other words, Eizenkot considers Iran to be the prima- ry source of the threats Israel faces--one that, crucially, hasn't given up on its ambition of weaponizing its nuclear program. Yes, Eizenkot also said that the deal brought "opportunities," but probably not of the sort Goldberg had in mind. Those opportunities for Israel lie not in diplomatic out- reach to the Iranian regime, but in forging alliances with its Sunni neighbors, whose fear of Iranian power is even greater than Israel's. The question remains as to why someone would make such extravagant claims when they are easily refuted by checking the record. I can only speculate--and unlike Goldberg, I don't dress up speculation as fact--but it seems to me that there is a whiff of desperation in all of this. If you believe against all the available evidence that the Iran deal has made us safer, then you'll be worried that it won't survive the Obama presidency. Ergo, who could possibly be more credible in making the case to retain it than a serving Israeli general (and never mind that he didn't say what you said he said...)? Be warned, then, to expect more of this sort of thing in the coming months. And be prepared for some even more bizarre spectacles--like J Street, the anti-Israel group that markets itself as "pro- Israel" to win over Jewish liberals, campaigning to rid Congress of some of Israel's closest and most reliable friends, like Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), on the grounds that they oppose the surrender to Iran that Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated in Vienna. The key point to remember is that nothing has substan- tively changed. Iran remains a brutal theocracy, unashamed of imposing its primitive val- ues on democratic nations, as Rouhani's visit to Rome testifies. Iran's leaders are per- sonally responsible for some of the most vile atrocities of the Syrian civil war, through their backing of Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship. Iran wants to destroy Israel and turn the Islamic world into a web of deadly sectarian violence. In other words, Iran's rulers are the enemy, as they have been since the 1979 revolu- tion, and as they will be for as long as the Islamic Republic remains in place. Ben Cohen, senior editor & The Tower Magazine, writes a weekly col- umn for on Jewish af- fairs and Middle Eastern poli- tics. His writings have been published in Commentary, the New York Post, Haaretz, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications. He is the author of "Some of My Best Friends: A Journey Through Twenty-First Cen- tury Antisemitism" (Edition Critic, 2014). From page 5A any other individual can do to turn the tide. Please share, but also share your thoughts. One thing I do know is that Jews and Christians and all people of good will need to stand together and raise a pub- lic mtcry. It's no coincidence thaffaS the festival Purim ap- proaches, celebrating the Jews overcoming a similar global Persian threat as chronicled in the book of Esther, there are parallels we need to learn from, and actions we must undertake. We need to have an outcry of prayer that's loud, sincere and ongoing, beseeching God not to allow any more victims of the Iranians or their proxies. And if it takes a squadron of Israeli planes to take out the ultimate threat, let's pray that they go and return in safety, and carry out their mission with complete effectiveness. There are abundant paral- lels with the rise of the Nazis in Europe. Pastor Martin Niem611er wrote about the cowardice of Germans to speak out following the Nazis' rise to power. "First they came for the Socialists, I did not speak out--Because I was not a Socialist. "Then they came for the Trade Unionists, I did not speak out--Because I was not a Trade Unionist. "Then they came for the Jews, I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew. "Then they came for me-- and there was no one left to speak for me." If it's not good enough to raise an outcry over this mur- der and betrayal just because the victims are Jews, whatwill you say or do to be sure that you are not next? Jonathan Feldstein was born and educated in the U.S. and immigrated to Israel in 2004. He is married and the father of six. He has a three-decade career in nonprofit fundraising and marketing and through- out his life and career, he has become a respected bridge between Jews and Christians. He writes regularly on major Christian web sites about Israel and shares experiences of living as an Orthodox Jew in Israel. He can be reached at From page 5A and religious leaders to em- brace and support President A1 Sisi in his unprecedented, heroic position. By the same token, our leaders must sup- port our friends, such as the Kurds, and must oppose, in equal measure, those such as Saudi Arabia, who are fueling Muslim hatred with the financial wherewithal to promote it. In our generations, Na- zism, and Communism, both lethal threats to world peace, have been defeated. Out of their ashes has arisen a new monstrous threat to the peace of the World and to Western Civilization. The threat, which has already en- gulfed much of Europe, now laps at our shores. The source of the motivation of our ad- versary is hatred, which can and must be expunged by the Muslim community in the United States. Failure to face and defeat this hatred will surely bring about isolation and contempt for American Muslims, and shame for all Americans. This article originally ap- peared in the Jewish Journal and is reprinted with permis- sion. Robert I. Lappin is the founder of the Robert I. Lap- pin Charitable Foundation. From page 13A CIJAsaid sanctions and"ro- bust diplomacy have proven invaluable in holding Iran to account for its illicit nuclear program. Ongoing, targeted economic and diplomatic pressure is likewise required to address the multifaceted threat Iran poses to interna- tional peace and security." The advocacy group pointed out that Canada will maintain sanctions on the Basij Militia and Iranian banks implicated in financing terrorism and illicit nuclear procurement; retain Iran's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, and impose restrictions on exports to Iran of goods and technology that may be used for nuclear or ballistic missile purposes. These steps signal that Canada "remains committed to the objective of changing Iran's destructive behavior," CIJA said. In a separate report, the Globe and Mail newspaper said the Liberals are expected to provide $15 million in annual funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which was set up in 1950 to help Palestinian refugees, after the former Conservative government phased out $30 million in annual funding to the agency by 2013.