Haredim protest WoW prayer 370.
(photo credit: JEREMY SHARON)
Tensions ran high at the Western Wall on Monday morning as thousands of haredi schoolgirls and some 200 haredi boys arrived at the site to protest against the Women of the Wall prayer-rights activist group and prevent them from praying next to the Wall.
The police estimated that between 6,000 and 7,000 haredi high-school girls were present at the Wall, and the police presence itself was sizable, with approximately 250 officers at the scene to protect the Women of the Wall group.
The girls, whose transportation was arranged by the United Torah Judaism political party, arrived ahead of the Women of the Wall prayer group and entirely filled up the women’s section, preventing the WoW group from praying next to it.
The police had set up ahead of time a prayer area at the back of the plaza, close to the entrance to the Western Wall complex, cordoned off by barriers and a large police presence, and the Women of the Wall prayer group conducted its service in this area.
While the haredi girls remained in the women’s section of the Wall, the boys stood by the WoW prayer area in turns shouting insults and singing to drown out the voices of the service.
“Get out of here, Amalek,” was one of the slogans the boys shouted at the women’s prayer group, as well as the traditional rhythmic chants of “gevalt,” or “woe” in Yiddish, along with calls of “Nazis” directed at the police.
Although most of the haredi youth were smiling and joking as they protested, eggs and water balloons were thrown at the female worshipers on at least two occasions, and at times the atmosphere and tone of the haredi protestations became notably hostile and aggressive.
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