The Women of the Wall group said that security guards had searched their bags and confiscated a Torah scroll on Friday morning, adding that this violated a recent ruling by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.
In July, the Magistrate's Court ruled that security guards at the site could not conduct targeted searches for Torah scrolls. The court added, however, that ushers at the site could continue to enforce regulations of the site such as those concerning the use of Torah scrolls.
סרטון שצילמתי, הבוקר בכותל: הוחרם ספר תורה מנשות הכותל לקראת תפילת ראש החודש המסורתית. בניגוד לפסיקת בית המשפט מהחודש שעבר האוסרת על מאבטחים לחפש ספרי תורה, ספר התורה הוחרם על ידי מאבטח וסדרן כפי שרואים בתיעוד. נשות הכותל טוענות כי מדובר בהפרה בוטה של פסק הדין @GLZRadio pic.twitter.com/DXB1XfSL9y— יואלי ברים • yoeli brim (@yoeli_brim) August 18, 2023
While Women of the Wall celebrated the ruling as a victory at the time, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation stated that the ruling reflected an existing reality at the site in which security guards conducted security checks and ushers enforced rules such as those blocking women from reading from the Torah.
Women of the Wall say Torah scroll confiscated
On Friday morning, as Women of the Wall arrived at the Western Wall for their traditional Rosh Chodesh prayer services, the organization said that security guards conducted searches for a Torah scroll and confiscated it while ushers from the Western Wall Heritage Foundation stood next to them.
The Women of the Wall said that the search and the placement of ushers were in violation of the court ruling from July.
"We will return to the court so that he can have his say on the blatant violations of the ruling, which is actually a compromise settlement to which the Wall Heritage Foundation agreed," said the Women of the Wall on Friday.
Western Wall Heritage Foundation stresses that it's in accordance with court ruling
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation stressed on Friday that the position of the Justice Ministry is that the enforcement of the prohibition of bringing Torah scrolls to the Western Wall plaza is still in effect.
"Following the court ruling and after discussions held with the Justice Ministry and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, it has been clarified that the court's decision reflects the ongoing conduct at the Western Wall Plaza for years," added the foundation. "Any attempt to present a change in relation to the enforcement of the site's regulations is baseless and has no grounding in reality, legal instructions, or the court's decision."
"It should be noted that throughout the year, no entity is allowed to bring Torah scrolls to the Western Wall Plaza," added the foundation. "With the start of the month of compassion and forgiveness, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation requests to distance disputes from the Western Wall Plaza, preserve the Wall as a holy and unifying place, and adhere to all established regulations."