The wife of a paratrooper who liberated the Temple Mount in 1967 as well as a male activist for the Women of the Wall organization were both detained on Sunday morning by police at the Western Wall, although the circumstances behind the incidents are unclear.
The detained man was apparently involved in a confrontation with a young Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) protester during the group’s monthly service.
The details of the incident are unclear, although Women of the Wall said the man was attacked and physically harassed by a young Haredi boy, and that when he tried to defend himself, the police detained the man.
Video footage emerged on Sunday of several border police leading a man away, although the video did not show the actual incident.
The wife of the paratrooper was allegedly spat on and harassed by a Haredi girl who also tried to take her camera, and when the woman tried to stop the girl, the woman complained to the police that she had been attacked and the police detained the woman.
Women of the Wall have faced persistent harassment from ultra-Orthodox women and girls in the women’s section throughout their services.
Protesters blew whistles, shouted and verbally harassed the more than 100 women who participated in the service.
“I hate all of you,” one young girl protesting the service told some of the Women of the Wall worshipers.
“It is forbidden to sing aloud,” a Haredi woman told them.
Women of the Wall said that in light of the harassment during their monthly prayer services, they “came prepared today with female bodyguards trained in conflict management and de-escalation.”
The organization also accused the police of failing to protect them against the harassment.
“Police stood by and watched without interfering, and Western Wall Heritage Foundation guards instructed WOW to ‘calm down and focus on your prayers,’” said Women of the Wall.
The police said in response that they detained a person “suspected of violating the public order,” but that “for reasons of respect and right to privacy of the detained person are unable to give more details,” and did not confirm or deny a second person had been detained.
“The Israel Police will continue to implement its job at all the holy places in order to ensure that every person is able to actualize their freedom of worship and religion, protect the public order, and [protect] the peace and security of all visitors and worshipers at these sites,” said the police in a statement to the press.
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