No More "Pay to Pray" for Non-O at the Wall
According to JTA, on Feb. 11th, the government of Israel and the Masorti (Israeli Conservative) movement came to an agreement so that Masorti Jews using Robinson’s Arch to pray would no longer be charged by the archaeological park until 10:30 in the morning on weekdays, Friday evenings and holidays.
The decision to have a legally sanctioned area for Jews who wanted to pray in mixed minyans, or quorums, at the Western Wall followed violent attacks on mixed groups praying with Torah scrolls in 1998 and 1999.
The worshipers were pelted with stones and reportedly even feces-filled diapers by fervently Orthodox worshipers who were enraged at the sight of women and men praying together at the rear of the Western Wall plaza.
At the time a deal was made that worshipers seeking to pray in egalitarian services would be allowed to do so at Robinson’s Arch, an archaeological site at the far southern edge of the Western Wall.
About two years ago the archaeological park that oversees the site began charging worshipers who came to pray after 8 in the morning, claiming the groups were bothersome to tourists, according to Sacks.