Women of the wall protest.
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Protests at the Western Wall in Jerusalem opposing the Women of the Wall
prayer group ended on Friday morning with the arrest of three haredi
men suspected of disturbing the peace. Two police officers
who suffered light injuries during the unrest were treated at the scene. A large
number of security forces at the holy site attempted to create a
human barrier between the men and women's sections.
protesters threw water bottles and other objects and shouted insults at
the Women of the Wall activists, according to Israel Radio.
Susan Silverman, comedian Sarah Silverman's sister who prays with the
Women of the Wall, was at the protest where she said that haredi men
spit globs of spit on her three daughters, she told The Jerusalem Post
Silverman also said that the haredim threw coffee at the Women of the
Wall activists and that a little girl next to her was hit in the head
with something hard.
Silverman told the Post
the haredi protesters represent "a fundamentalism and a belief in a
single and very narrow view of God that I believe is idolatrous."
of the Wall Spokesperson, Oshrat Ben Shimshon told Israel Radio,
"Orthodox rabbis have determined that there is no halachik barrier to
women praying with prayer shawls and tefillin and reading from the
Meanwhile, chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel,
Natan Sharansky said that a sustainable solution is urgent and this
morning's clashes at the Western Wall dramatically reinforce Israel's
need to allow any Jew, group of Jews or Jewish community to pray at the
Western Wall according to their own customs.
police for the appropriate and level-headed action they have taken under
extremely complicated circumstances, dealing with clashes and riots,
and ensuring respect was given to those engaged in prayer.
Several thousand yeshiva students and haredi school girls convened at
the Western Wall plaza in Jerusalem to protest the
monthly prayer service of the Women of the Wall.
protesters shouted at the Women of the Wall activists as they were conducting
their first monthly service without restrictions after a court ruling
two weeks ago reinterpreted existing laws and allowed them to be able to
perform their own customs, such as wearing prayer shawls and tefillin,
without fear of being arrested.
The idea to send haredi school girls to protest the Women of the Wall
was devised by MKs from the United Torah Judaism party earlier this week in
consultation with principals of haredi girls schools, on condition the
initiative received approval from the leading haredi rabbis.
a report on haredi website Kikar Hashabbat, spiritual leader of the haredi world
Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman gave his blessing to the proposal on Thursday.
Many participants in the Women of the Wall services
don prayer shawls and perform other customs usually performed by men in Orthodox
practice, that has until now been prohibited by state law, and as of late, women
have been arrested on a frequent basis for wearing prayer shawls during the WoW
services.A court ruling two weeks ago
reinterpreted existing laws and
the Women of the Wall will on Friday be able to perform their own customs.
a hearing of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women earlier this week, a
representative of the Jerusalem Police confirmed that the police would not act
against the recent Jerusalem District Court ruling which decided that WoW’s
customs did not contravene “local custom,” that has been the basis for outlawing
the group’s non- Orthodox customs.
United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael
Eichler expressed outrage during the committee hearing at what he referred to as
the Women of the Wall’s “provocations.” He asked if the police would allow the
right of protest and demonstration against the group’s prayer
The Women of the Wall issued a statement on Thursday celebrating
their new found freedoms.
“We have the great merit that Israeli women
will arrive in their masses tomorrow for the prayer service for the New Month of
Sivan. We call on the public which supports us, women and men, to come and pray
with us, to liberate the Western Wall and to turn it into to the home of
everyone,” the group said.