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J Street is the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans who want Israel to be secure, democratic and the national home of the Jewish people. Working in American politics and the Jewish community, we advocate policies that advance shared US and Israeli interests as well as Jewish and democratic values, leading to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Giving in to ultra-Orthodox, Cabinet Drops Compromise on Mixed Prayer Space at Western Wall, Haaretz

“The government decided on Sunday to suspend a plan to establish an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, following pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties. The government decision goes against commitments made to representatives of the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel and the US. As per the decision, construction work on a mixed gender prayer space in the southern part of the Western Wall complex will continue, but Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and Cabinet Secretary Tzachi Braverman will begin talks over a new plan that would be acceptable to the ultra-Orthodox parties. The nixed plan, approved in 2016, has never been executed because of opposition from the ultra-Orthodox members of the ruling coalition. In September, the Reform and Conservative movements in Israel, along with Women of the Wall – a multidenominational prayer group – petitioned the Supreme Court  to force the government to fulfill its commitment, or alternatively, re-divide the existing gender-segregated prayer plazas to make room for them.”

Netanyahu ready to meet Abbas, but not to negotiate, Al-Monitor

Uri Savir reports, “A senior Israeli ambassador currently engaged with policy planning at the Foreign Ministry told Al-Monitor that the Netanyahu government has a very clear strategy. According to this official, Israel is not interested in a launch of the peace process by Washington. Netanyahu is ready to participate in a meeting with Trump, Abbas and other Arab leaders. On the other hand, a type of Madrid 2 Conference in Washington is rejected at the highest Israeli levels, as is any other American move that could endanger the stability of the current right-wing coalition. The official added that Israel’s strategy will be a mixture of positive rhetoric and moves toward Trump’s policies with policy conditions that will make it difficult if not impossible for the Palestinians to accept such a negotiation process. Israel has conveyed to Greenblatt that the prime minister is ready to participate in a regional strategy meeting in Washington chaired by Trump and also to meet with Abbas. The participation in such a meeting is conditioned on the Palestinian Authority’s taking action to stop incitement to violence and to halt all payments to the families of terrorists and prisoners in Israel. According to the senior Israeli official, the government is convinced that Abbas will not stop the payments to the Palestinian families, as it affects almost a quarter of the Palestinian population. Furthermore, according to this official, while Netanyahu has agreed to restrain settlement expansion, construction will continue both in the Jerusalem area and outside of the settlement blocs, thus giving partial satisfaction to Naftali Bennett’s HaBayit HaYehudi party.”

Outraged at Netanyahu Over Western Wall, Jewish Agency to Rethink Ties With Israeli Government, Haaretz

The Jewish Agency will reevaluate its relationship with the Israeli government, the newly installed Chairman of the Board of Governors Michael Siegal told Haaretz on Monday, in wake of two decisions that have sparked outrage in the Jewish world….’We represent the Jewish people, not the government of Israel,’ said Siegal, who assumed his new position just one day earlier. ‘The government of Israel has taken certain actions that threaten the Jewish people, and we want our communities back home to understand that support for Israel does not necessarily mean support for the government of Israel.’”

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