Likud MK denies offering stop to mixed-gender Western Wall prayer

MK Miki Zohar reportedly made the offer to the Noam party in an attempt to persuade the far-right party to withdraw from the Knesset race.

By World Israel News Staff 

After apparent pressure from his Likud party, MK Miki  Zohar issued a denial on Thursday of  a report in the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that he had offered a small far-right party to close the mixed-gender prayer section at the Western Wall in exchange for the party dropping out of the race for the Knesset September 17 election.

The party in question is called Noam. Its platform is centered around maintaining the traditional family structure and opposing a gay lifestyle.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has himself been involved in persuading smaller right-wing parties to either drop out or merge with other parties into one list for the election.

The fear has been that some of the smaller parties would not reach the minimum of 3.25 percent of the vote required by law to enter the Knesset, and therefore waste right-wing votes and allow a center-left coalition to form a parliamentary majority instead.

“Zohar met with Noam party leaders and offered an end to egalitarian prayer at the Western Wall, in exchange for the anti-gay party dropping out of the election race,” reported Ynet, Yedioth Ahronoth‘s news website.

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“Though the meeting was initiated by MK Zohar, he claims it was sanctioned by the prime minister,” said the report.

However, the Likud issued a denial, insisting that Noam was not offered anything to drop out of the race.

“Clarification: during the meeting with the members of Noam, I did not present any proposal, in complete contradiction to what was reported in Yedioth Ahronoth,” tweeted Zohar later on Thursday.

“I concentrated on a detailed explanation of how they could bring upon us a leftist government contrary to their ideology,” Zohar continued.

“I have no, and did not have any, presumption that I could offer them any kind of proposal,” said the Likud MK, who is a close ally of the prime minister.

According to the report, he had come to the meeting with Noam accompanied “by a member” of United Torah Judaism, a Haredi Orthodox faction.

“I am not responsible for proposals which they received from United Torah Judaism,” Zohar tweeted.