After wearing a bikini at the Western Wall holy site in a demonstration against a proposed modesty law, the protester was indicted on Wednesday for violating public peace.
Maya Benvenisti had entered the Western Wall area in February fully clothed in a sweater and skirt and then undressed down to a bikini. According to the indictment, she had written across parts of her body "Bibi (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) let my people go."
Benvenisti wore the bikini in protest of a modesty bill proposed by Shas chairman Arye Deri, according to the indictment.
The bill would have imposed a six-month prison sentence or NIS 10,000 fine for women dressing immodestly, wearing a prayer shawl or reading from the Torah at the Western Wall. Netanyahu and Justice Minister Yariv Levin had assured that the bill would not be advanced three days before the bikini incident.
Benvenisti planned her protest in advance
In addition to notifying journalists of her intentions, Benvenisti had reportedly opened a WhatsApp group entitled "Protest at the Kotel" a few days before her demonstration in which she detailed plans to others and tried to convince them to join her.
"On Sunday at 11:00 we will gather at the food court at the top of the stairs to the Western Wall in regular clothing, with protest clothing underneath without megaphones and without signs," Benvenisti allegedly wrote. "Everyone will separately enter the women's area as if they were visiting the Western Wall. At an agreed time all of us at once will be able to undress and stay in our protest clothes."
The breaking of peace by the unclothed protester at the holy site was seen as obscene by the state prosecutors. The incident was condemned by religious figures and worshippers as a provocation.
Zvika Klein and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.