Israeli PM hopeful Gantz vows mixed Western Wall prayer area

October 29, 2019 GMT

JERUSALEM (AP) — The man who is trying to become Israel’s next prime minister says he would implement a long-stalled plan for an egalitarian section at a key Jewish prayer site in Jerusalem if he takes power.

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz told a gathering of overseas Jewish leaders Tuesday that “the Western Wall is long enough for all” and should accommodate all streams of Judaism.

The Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, currently has separate sections for men and women, in adherence with Orthodox custom.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government reached had agreed to upgrade a mixed prayer area, welcomed by pluralistic Jewish movements that make up a majority of Diaspora Jews.

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But under ultra-Orthodox pressure, Netanyahu shelved the plan, straining relations with overseas Jewish communities.