Rosh Hodesh prayer services on Thursday again turned violent at the Kotel.
In honor of the month of Tamuz, Rosh Hodesh prayers took place at Ezrat Israel, the egalitarian prayer section at the Kotel. A large group of haredi youth arrived there with whistles and used them to disturb the prayer service at the plaza.
A few of the demonstrators tore the siddurim published by the Conservative movement, and one teen was photographed blowing his nose on a torn page of a siddur.
“Once again, we are witnessing horrific images from the Western Wall,” said Rakefet Ginsberg, director of the Conservative movement in Israel. “Ezrat Israel is intended for egalitarian prayer. It is impossible that worshipers praying there need to feel fear for their own safety.”
Rabbi Arie Hasit, a Conservative rabbi who was leading a Bar Mitzvah service for an American boy at the plaza, wrote on Facebook: “It is difficult for me to find the words to describe my experience this morning at Ezrat Israel. I hoped that the charming, shy, but determined young boy wouldn’t be exposed to hatred. Instead, he received shouts from dozens of children and teenagers with whistles calling him a Christian. There were chants saying that he was a Nazi. An American boy who wanted to celebrate reaching the age of observance. A boy who chose to get his aliyah to the Torah in Israel. In the presence of his parents, grandparents and extended family.
“The boy was amazing. It happened beautifully, and [he] did not make a single mistake, despite the disturbances.”
Hasit added that he is “broken,” and that “some people hate me and are willing to hurt me, because my Judaism is different from their Judaism.”
Women of the Wall protest
In addition, Women of the Wall (WoW) reported that were disturbed during their prayer service at the main prayer plaza at the Kotel. They arrived at the Kotel with signs calling on incoming Prime Minister Yair Lapid to “Implement the Western Wall outline – immediately.” The prayer service was held on the fifth anniversary of the cancellation of the Western Wall compromise.
At the entrance to the Western Wall plaza, according to WoW, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation “discriminated between those who entered the plaza and allowed the entry of haredi worshipers over the entry of WoW members, while delaying the group for a long time.” They added that “inside the Western Wall plaza, WoW encountered severe violence against them, which was completely ignored by the Western Wall security guards.”
"Inside the Western Wall plaza, Women of the Wall encountered severe violence against them, which was completely ignored by the Western Wall security guards.”Women of the Wall
Yochi Rappaport, CEO of WoW, said “The Western Wall Heritage Foundation has once again proven that it discriminates between those who enter the Western Wall, and clearly prefers the haredi worshipers over others who wish to pray there. Five years after the outline was revoked, incoming Prime Minister Lapid has the task of implementing the Western Wall outline. This is the time to take a historic step for the sake of the connection with Diaspora Jewry, for the sake of making the Western Wall a home for every Jew, and for the sake of bringing peace and tranquility to this holy place.”