In scrapping the deal for an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, Benjamin Netanyahu is sending a stark and unambiguous message to the diaspora. It is, as Natan Sharansky put it this week: “you are not part of us”.
But clear as that message is, it should hardly surprise anyone. It has been obvious for many years. The Israeli Prime Minister views the diaspora as essentially little more than the supplier of olim. In the aftermath of the Paris murders in 2015, his response was to urge mass migration of European Jews to Israel.
He is almost entirely uninterested in the views of mainstream diaspora Jews and, politically, he does not need to be. Only the strictly-Orthodox have any influence, through their relationship with the United Torah Judaism and Shas parties. But whatever the realpolitik may be from Mr Netanyahu’s perspective, it is narrow and dangerous.
The more Israel tells the rest of world Jewry that it is not interested in its views, the more likely it is that it will generate a similar response in return.
Time after time
There could be no better proof of the maxim that good things come to those who wait than the experience of 87-year-old Sydney Altman.
After 44 years, his 93-year-old partner Sylvia Wayne finally decided to make an honest man of him. He can hardly be blamed for his reaction to her proposal: throwing his hands in the air and saying “at last”.
We wish them a happy marriage and look forward to celebrating their silver wedding anniversary.