AIPAC leaders warn Netanyahu of ‘crisis of faith’ among US Jews with freeze on Western Wall agreement


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Three AIPAC leaders reportedly warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of a “crisis of faith” among American Jews in the aftermath of the freezing of the Western Wall agreement.

Outgoing president Lillian Pinkus, her successor, Mort Fridman, and vice CEO Richard Fishman offered what a source familiar with what happened at the meeting told JTA was an “analysis” of the impact of the freeze on American Jews and the divisions it might cause.

The same source also denied a report on the emergency meeting Thursday that said the leaders told Netanyahu that the controversy would hurt support for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. That report was by Israel’s Channel 2.

The leaders spent about a day in Israel and left Thursday night after their meeting with Netanyahu, The Times of Israel reported.

On Wednesday, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which represents more than 50 national Jewish groups, in a letter to Netanyahu said that a lack of unity between Diaspora Jews and Israel over the Western Wall agreement “could lead to an erosion of support.”

On Sunday, the Israeli government voted to suspend most of the compromise passed in January 2016 by the Cabinet dealing with the status of the non-Orthodox section of the Western Wall.  The compromise would have expanded the non-Orthodox prayer section south of the main Western Wall plaza, created a shared entrance to all prayer areas and appointed an interdenominational council to oversee the non-Orthodox section.

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