Pushing, Shoving, Whistling, Throwing Hot Coffee and Water, and Spitting on People for the Glory of God!
The problem is, I don’t think God wants that. Prayer is not a weapon. It is not supposed to inflict pain. Prayer is supposed to be done full of intent and with joyfulness. That is why Hallel is sung on Rosh Hodesh. That is why I go to the Kotel to pray.
WoW arrived at the Kotel on Rosh Hodesh Kislev to see that once again the entire women’s section was full of chairs. So we went to a completely unpopulated spot and cleared chairs so that we could pray. As soon as we began, we were set upon by throngs of women who pushed and shoved their way in to stand beside us and disrupt our prayers. This month, there was once more a call to action publicized at the Kotel and in posters to keep WoW from the Kotel. One woman tried to distract the shaliach Tzibbur yelling b’sheket at the top of her lungs.
Another young woman, still a teen, pushed her way through to yell Tehillan. She kept pushing against my injured knee and I begged her for just a few inches of space and her reply was to back into me and cause pain. The young woman was unmoved and she, robot-like, continued to yell prayers as loud as she could. Leslie Sachs saw my predicament and got me a chair but other women were being pushed into my leg.
As usual, the Western Wall heritage foundation guards did nothing to stop these women. As usual, the police did nothing to stop these women.
I wanted to leave. I couldn’t hear the prayer leader, I could no longer follow the prayers and I was in pain. As I started to go, I stopped myself. Why should I go? I was praying. We were praying. Due to the huge amount of noise from the protesters and the loud speakers from the men’s section that are meant to drown us out, men couldn’t hear us. Women couldn’t hear us. We couldn’t hear ourselves.
So I just went behind the rest of our prayer group and sat on a chair and just concentrated on praying.
We had dedicated our prayers to the Pittsburg martyrs. We heard yells from behind us, go back to Pittsburg, goyim. Meaning that it was ok for Jews to be slaughtered because they were not the right kind of Jews. We should go join them.
Leaving the Kotel, it was very clear that the poster tactics were successful and there were hundreds of wild Haredi men who were clearly riled up to do us great harm. A cry of the shiksa are here was bellowed and then the attack came. The police formed lines to try to keep the surging crowd away from us. The haredim throw coffee and water. A full bottle or cup was thrown directly into my face. I was soaked, bruised but happy that I wore glasses so my eyes were protected; it could have been much worse.
Men and boys spit at us. One boy spit in Anat Hoffman’s face. Peoples clothing was damaged. One supporter’s tzizit was ripped from his tallit. No-one died, no one was taken out on a stretcher. At least not this month.
Police complaints were registered, more are still being opened. But the question is will the police act on them. We see the same faces of the rioters every month. The police videotape every month and we can easily tell them which women are blowing assault whistles, which boys are spitting and kicking people, which girls are pushing, shoving and hitting us, and which men ripped up or burned our prayer books. Arrests can easily be made.
Why is the government letting this keep happening hodesh after hodesh. The longer it continues, the more violent these people get. How long, before women are getting killed at the Kotel, or soldiers are killed in the streets of haredi neighborhoods, or the frequent haredi anti-draft riots go out of control and Jerusalem goes up in flames?