Jewish group cancels meeting with Netanyahu in protest

Jerusalem - A high-profile group of Jewish leaders has cancelled a gala event with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest his government's decision to scrap plans for a mixed-gender prayer area at Jerusalem's Western Wall.

The board of governors of The Jewish Agency, a nonprofit that works closely with the Israeli government to serve Jewish communities worldwide, says Monday it was calling off its dinner with Netanyahu.

It also altered the agenda of its meetings to address a crisis that has set off a cascade of criticism.

The move reflects an unprecedented gulf that has erupted between Israel and the Jewish diaspora over how Judaism can be practiced in Israel.

Most American Jews belong to its more liberal streams and feel alienated by Israel's ultra-Orthodox authorities that question their faith and practices.

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