Cops release Women of the Wall leader

Group chairwoman banned from Kotel for 30 days for holding Torah.

kotel plaza 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
kotel plaza 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The chairperson of the Women of the Wall prayer group Anat Hoffman was released from police custody on Monday afternoon, after being taken in for questioning for allegedly defying the High Court ruling outlawing women from reading from the Torah  at the Western Wall.
Women of the Wall Public Relations Director Michelle Handelman told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that Hoffman was not reading from the Torah, but only holding it, which is not against the law according to the ruling.
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"[Hoffman] was holding the Torah in the women's section and walked out with it.  The Kotel Police told her to stop and she didn't. They tried to forcefully remove the Torah from her hands. They almost ripped the Torah from it's covering. They were physical. People fell and they pushed her the entire time."
The prayer meeting at the women's section of the wall was attended by several dozen women, some of whom later convened in protest outside of the nearby Keshla Police Station where Hoffman was being investigated.
The Masorti (Conservative) Movement referred to the police arrest as a "foolish act", stating that although they do not encourage disregard for the law, the selective manner in which the law is enforced is baffling, in an announcement released Monday.
"The Western Wall belongs to the entire nation of Israel. The haredim have expropriated the wall for themselves and changed it from a national monument to a synagogue that is managed according to fundamentalist views," added the statement.
The statement also claimed that the law is enforced in a discriminatory manner against the Women of the Wall. "Every month the Women of the Wall are spit on, pushed and humiliated and nobody is arrested for that."