Haredim plan protest against Women of the Wall

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox expected to gather at Western Wall on Sunday "to express the outcry of faithful Judaism."

June 6, 2013 15:34
2 minute read.
A Women of the Wall member dons tefillin and a tallit.

Women of the wall tefillin 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A mass haredi protest is being organized to take place this Sunday at the Western Wall to express opposition to the Women of the Wall activist group who plan to hold their monthly prayer service at the site.

“A mass prayer service will be conducted at the Western Wall in order to express the outcry of faithful Judaism against the severe injury to the holiest and most beloved place of all of the Jewish people, and in so doing to declare... that the Jewish world will not be quiet and will not be reconciled to the humiliating conspiracy to turn the remnant of our holy sanctuary into a Reform temple and a media spectacle, God forbid,” the haredi newspaper Yated Neeman wrote.

The senior haredi rabbinic leadership has approved the protest but has specifically called on attendees to behave “in accordance with the Torah.”

Yated Neeman reported on Thursday that only married yeshiva students and adults were being asked to come to the demonstration, specifically saying that younger men and boys should not attend.

This directive is most likely intended to reduce the possibility of the demonstration turning violent, as it did last month, by prohibiting the more combustible haredi youth from attending the protest.  

The article reported that the haredi prayer demonstration would be commencing at 6:30 AM and said that the worshippers “are requested not to be dragged along after the provocations whose only purpose is to harm the community of worshippers, and to behave according to the path of the holy Torah and to sanctify God’s name.”

Thousands of haredi school girls packed into the women’s section of the Western Wall last month to protest the Women of the Wall’s service, and haredi boys and men scuffled with the police. Various objects were also hurled at the Women of the Wall worshippers.

The HaPeles newspaper, the mouthpiece of a hardline haredi faction, carried a similar article but also warned protest attendees not to react to “provocations.”

Women of the Wall will be holding its prayer service at 07:00. The group said on Wednesday that it would be reading from a Sefer Torah at the women’s section of the wall for the first time on Sunday.

In a recent landmark ruling, the Jerusalem District Court gave permission to the Women of the Wall group to conduct their prayers services according to their own customs, including wearing prayer shawls, tefilin and performing other religious practices usually conducted only by men in Orthodox Judaism.

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