Labor, Meretz MKs held up at Western Wall

Lawmakers join Women of the Wall struggle; Shaffir to introduce legislation to address women's prayer at site.

March 12, 2013 09:23
1 minute read.
Labor MK Stav Shafir (middle)  and Meretz  MK Tamar Zandberg (far right) at Western Wall.

zandberg and Shafir Western Wall370 . (photo credit: courtesy)


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Labor MK Stav Shaffir vowed on Tuesday to introduce legislation to address the issue of women's prayer at the Western Wall, after she and fellow MKs Tamar Zandberg and Michal Roisin (Meretz) were held up at the entrance to the holy site when they sought entry with prayer shawls (talitot).

The three MKs arrived at the Kotel on Tuesday morning to support the Women of the Walls' monthly Rosh Chodesh prayer.

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"The Women of the Wall pray every Rosh Chodesh at the Western Wall. For years they have been harassed and arrested because they choose to pray as women there. This morning, after a week of threats in the Orthodox media, I joined them," Shaffir wrote on her Facebook page.

Police asked the three MKs, and their fellow Women of the Wall, to leave their talitot outside of the site in order to prevent disturbance of the public order.

Zandberg and her fellow MKs refused to leave their prayer shawls behind. "As a member of the Knesset, I demand entry. The law with regard to holy places as interpreted by the extreme denomination is not acceptable to me and I refuse to leave my talit outside," she said.

Zandberg expressed her identification with the recent struggle of the Jewish women's group Women of the Wall, who in recent weeks have increased their demands to worship freely at the Western Wall, which is regarded as the most important religious site for Judaism.

Over the last few months many of these women have been arrested. "I am a secular woman but I identify with the struggle of those women for freedom of expression and freedom of religion" Zandberg stated.

According to Zandberg, the police tried to prevent her and Shaffir of entering the site, but the two broke through the obstacle by force with their prayer shawls in hand.

The Women of the Wall prayer service at the site passed peacefully, and no arrests were made. Several haredi women and dozens of men protested the prayer service.

Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.

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