Women of the Wall threatened with ban

Women of the Wall members are routinely harassed by women protesting their presence, and have been physically and verbally assaulted during their prayer services.

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June 6, 2018 22:45
1 minute read.
MEMBERS OF Women of the Wall pray at the Kotel.

MEMBERS OF Women of the Wall pray at the Kotel.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The Religious Services Ministry has warned the Women of the Wall that if its members do not pray inside a cordoned- off area at the Western Wall, they will be banned from the site.

The ministry issued its warning in a letter, based on instructions issued by the administrator of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, and in coordination with the police.

The legal adviser to the Religious Services Ministry wrote to Women of the Wall director Lesley Sachs on Tuesday to inform the group that Rabinowitz, “in coordination with the police,” has instructed that WOW’s monthly prayer services take place inside a cordoned-off area, presumably inside the women’s section, although this was not stated specifically.

“If actions are taken against the instructions of the administrator...

and the prayer services are held outside of the designated area, the administrator will be forced to use his authority to ban and restrain people [from the site],” the legal adviser wrote.

“The instructions of the administrator are designed to protect the sanctity of the Western Wall, to ensure the implementation of the right to prayer of the general community, and to guarantee that legal prohibitions are not violated,” he added.

Women of the Wall members are routinely harassed by women protesting their presence, and have been physically and verbally assaulted during their prayer services.

The organization has, however, objected to the placement of the cordon, saying that it has been put at the side of the women’s section and last month left it to pray outside of the designated area, leading to friction and scuffles with other women.

“Women of the Wall have not violated a single prohibition and act in accordance with court rulings from five years ago; therefore, there is no basis on which to banish the group from the Western Wall,” said the organization in response.

“We are aghast at Rabinowitz’s brazenness – with the backing of the Religious Services Ministry – and that instead of removing those who continue to disrupt Women of the Wall’s prayer and use violence against them for several years, he tries to intimidate Women of the Wall, who seek to fulfill their right to pray in their way.”


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