Women of the Wall slam new prayer restrictions

New police directives prohibits women from reciting the 'kadish' prayer, unleashing a backlash from women's rights group.

April 4, 2013 13:05
1 minute read.
A woman prays in a prayer shawl at the Western Wall

Woman praying Western Wall 395. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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The Women of the Wall attacked Jerusalem District Police Chief Yossi Pariente's newest prohibitions on Thursday, which included the prohibition of women from from saying certain prayers such as the kaddish at the Wailing Wall.

The kaddish is a traditional Jewish prayer of mourning.

Anat Hoffman, the group's spokeswoman, was particularly incensed as the new directives were released before the month of Iyar, which in the Jewish calender include Holocaust Remembrance Day as well as the day of remembrance for Israeli soldiers who have fallen defending Israel, and Independence day.

She described these days as "the days which symbolize more than anything else the unity surrounding the collective fate of the Jewish people."

She further added that the Women of the Wall planned to say kaddish at the Kotel regardless of the new prohibitions, and that they would not be dissuaded by the Rabbi of the Kotel's religious traditions, which she feels have affected the Police Chief's decision to implement the 2005 legal ruling prohibiting women from saying certain prayers.

The Women of the Wall group was a hot topic in March when MK's Stav Shamir, Tamar Zandberg and Michal Roison took part in their prayer session as the Kotel, leading Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie to lash out that their participation gives the Israeli public the impression that "Supreme Court rulings and police decisions are merely recommendations."

Fellow MK Bayit Yehudi's Uri Ariel, supported Lavie's statements at the time by drawing parallels to the rules and regulations that are in place for Jews and non-Muslims who visit the Temple Mount.

The Women of the Wall's mission statement on their website read: "As Women of the Wall, our central mission is to achieve the social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall."

Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.

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