Women of the Wall clashing with Orthodox worshipers.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Women of the Wall wrote to Israel Police Interim Commissioner Motti Cohen on Sunday, condemning police inaction during events at the Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Friday.
“During the month preceding the prayer, we contacted the police and announced that an unusual number of worshipers are expected to arrive and take part in the prayer to mark the movement's 30th anniversary, which was supposed to be held on the women’s side of the Western Wall,” wrote WoW director Anat Hoffman.
“We even warned that rabbis have been calling on their students to arrive at the Western Wall Plaza in order to protest against the Women of the Wall and to interfere with the prayer,” the letter continued. “Despite our petition, the events which took place last Friday were once again a horrifying demonstration of abuse, severely damaging women’s worship rights.”
“The police abandoned the Women of the Wall, and left them at the mercy of the brute behavior of the angry mob that surrounded them,” the letter said.
“The police had to act with all the means at its disposal in order to protect the Women of the Wall and their right to pray, but this was not done, and therefore this is a very serious failure in the conduct of the police,” Hoffman charged.
Deputy Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman spoke at the start of Friday’s cabinet meeting about events at the Western Wall Plaza, and refused to condemn the Orthodox demonstrators who attacked women there.
“The police announced that there was a provocation by the Women of the Wall. They should have been thrown out,” Litzman said. When asked whether he was justifying violence, he replied, “Violence by the Women of the Wall? Absolutely not.”
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