Vandals spray-paint graffiti threats on Jerusalem home of WoW leader

‘Post’ reporter Peggy Cidor: "The next time I’m going to wake up with a grenade at my door?"

By
December 5, 2013 16:23
3 minute read.
Peggy Cidor standing in hallway of apartment where the words "Peggy, watch out" were spray-painted.

Peggy Cidor's spray-painted wall 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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One day after Women of the Wall held a peaceful pluralistic monthly prayer service at the Western Wall, the Jerusalem home of a prominent member of the organization was spray-painted with threats and insults.

Peggy Cidor, a longtime member of WoW and reporter for The Jerusalem Post Friday supplement, In Jerusalem, said that police woke her at 7:30 a.m. Thursday after a concerned neighbor notified them of the threatening graffiti sprayed on her building’s stairwell.

On the walls leading to Cidor’s apartment the words “Peggy, watch out” and “Women of the Wall are villains” were affixed in crude black Hebrew letters.

For Cidor, the graffiti was the second of its kind this year. In May, the words “You are wicked. Peggy, your time is over” and “Women of the Wall are disgusting villains. Peggy, you are the first” were spray-painted on her door. No arrests were made following the first incident. Cidor said Thursday afternoon that she is deeply concerned about the ongoing vandalism.

“The thing that bothers me the most is that it is so personal,” she said. “There are 10 women on the board of WoW and I’m the only one to be attacked twice, and I really don’t know why. I sometimes feel a little desperate seeing this level of violence against me.”

Cidor added that Thursday’s attack troubles her more than the previous one.

“I’m very concerned by the fact that I’m personally being singled out and that the police are taking this seriously,” she said.

While Cidor said she believes the vandals are likely teens from a local yeshiva, she condemned the rabbis and teachers who she says engender such behavior.

“The problem is the incitement that some rabbis and spiritual leaders who slander us create,” she said. “This is terrible because they say things that influence young people who don’t think for themselves.”

Cidor added that she is concerned the vandalism will escalate into violence against her.

“The next time I’m going to wake up with a grenade at my door?” she said. “Who knows? This happens in this country.”

Cidor continued, “I respect the fact that they don’t agree with what we’re doing, but violence is not the way to disapprove.”

Shira Pruce, director of media for the women’s organization, said the attack is likely the result of a recent stream of vitriolic verbal incitement against WoW by members of the ultra- Orthodox community.


“This attack comes after several weeks of attacks in the media really vilifying WoW,” said Pruce. “So I don’t think we should be surprised that the incitement of the ultra-Orthodox community against us has resulted in violence because we know that hate speech turns into violence.”

Specifically, Pruce said she blames the nascent anti-WoW organization Women for the Wall, which she said was created seven months ago to incite hatred and violence against WoW members.

“They have used the media to repeatedly claim we are anti- Israel over the past few weeks, and just one day after our monthly prayer at the Wall one of our leaders had threatening graffiti on her walls,” she said.

“I am calling for Women for the Wall to take responsibility for their language and actions,” she continued. “In the seven months since they’ve been calling on the ultra-Orthodox community to protest us we’ve had two physical threats against one of our leaders.”

While Pruce noted that between 1988-91 several acts of violence were directed at WoW, she said the problems largely abated, until Women for the Wall was formed shortly after a District Court judge issued a decision supporting WoW’s right to pray at the holy site.

“It was only then that we saw the formation of a group whose sole purpose is to protest WoW,” she said.

Reached for comment Thursday afternoon, Ronit Peskin, a director and spokeswoman for Women for the Wall, uniformly denied Pruce’s accusation of incitement.

“That is beyond ridiculous,” she said. “We condemned violence from the start and have completely eliminated violence at the Kotel [Western Wall], yet they continue to blame us.”

Moreover, according to Peskin, Women for the Wall has successfully worked to calm ultra-Orthodox protesters who have spit upon, insulted and thrown objects at WoW members earlier this year.

“There’s no proof we incited or are behind this,” she said.

“Until the police find out what happened, making accusations is completely premature.”

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