A brief meet and greet on Sunday between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Reform Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the Reform Movement, stretched to an hour, in which Jacobs was attacking the PM over the Regulation Act, the Muezzin Bill, and the influence of Haredi parties on his policy.
Netanyahu told his Reform guests, which also included Chair of the Reform Movement North American Board Daryl Messinger, that he had appointed Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi to serve as his envoy in coordinating between the Haredim and the Reform to reach a resolution that would allow the latter their own prayer area by the Western Wall.
As to the Reform clergy’s complaints regarding how the settlers “appropriate” land from Judea and Samaria Arabs, which in turn becomes an obstacle to peace, Netanyahu shared with his guests a document showing that entire settlement area comprises a mere 1.75% of the entire “west bank.” Suggesting that this puny portion that is populated by Jews keeps peace away is a sheer lie, according to Netanyahu, who added that a solution can be found should the PA Arabs be sincerely interested in finding one.
Concerning the Regulation Act, the PM pointed out that in the US, too, if a building is discovered to have been constructed illegally 20 years ago, the remedy is not to destroy the building but to find adequate compensation to the claimants.
On the Muezzin Bill, which limits the decibels and hours of operating mosque loudspeaker systems, Netanyahu asked Jacobs if he hears a lot of Muezzin calls in New York City.