Attorney general proposes Western Wall compromise

Speaking at the Reform movement's Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem on Tuesday of last week, Rubinstein said the area should be a prominent one, although not adjacent to the Wall itself.

"It should be a place where one can see the Wall and be seen from the Wall," Rubinstein said.

The issue has come to head over the past year as groups of non-Orthodox men and women have tried to pray together near the Wall. On occasion, ultra-religious Jews have attacked them, or police have forced the groups to leave the area.

Rubinstein, speaking on religion and state at a symposium in memory of late Knesset member Zalman Abramov, who was chairman of the board of HUC, described his proposal as part of a general outlook favoring compromise.

In the same spirit, he also expressed support for the proposals of the Ne'eman Committee, headed by Finance Minister Ya'acov Ne'eman to resolve the conversion issue in Israel.

Reacting to Rubinstein's proposal for a special area of the Western Wall Plaza to be reserved for the non-Orthodox, Rabbi Uri Regev, director of the Reform movement's Israel Religious Action Center, said his movement welcomed the suggestion.

He said the Reform had always been ready to compromise and had, in fact, appealed to the Religious Affairs Ministry and the Justice Ministry for permission to pray in the rear of the plaza.

"Our groups have always been respectful of the sensitivities of the worshipers at the Wall," Regev said. "They just could not tolerate being denied the opportunity to worship anywhere in the Plaza."

Regev added that the proposal could be the basis for a compromise which would solve the controversy over the Wall and that it should be acted upon quickly to prevent additional unnecessary litigation.