Police arrest Women of the Wall leader for singing

Anat Hoffman held overnight, banned from Wall for 30 days after she sings aloud at Jewish holy site against Israeli law.

ANAT HOFFMAN at the Western Wall 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
ANAT HOFFMAN at the Western Wall 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
Anat Hoffman, chairwoman of the Women of the Wall activist group, was arrested Tuesday night for disturbing the peace by singing out loud at the Western Wall.
Hoffman, along with 250 women from the movement and from the Hadassah organization went to the site for a prayer service for the new Jewish month of Heshvan.
She was held overnight and released after 12 hours in police custody, and issued with a restraining order banning her from visiting the Western Wall for 30 days.
Two more women, Lesley Sachs, director of Women of the Wall and board member Rachel Cohen-Yeshurun, were arrested Wednesday morning at another women’s prayer service.
They were detained and questioned for several hours and subsequently released.
“It was awful,” Hoffman told The Forward. “In the past when I was detained I had to have a policewoman come with me to the bathroom, but this was something different.
This time they checked me naked, completely, without my underwear. They dragged me on the floor 15 meters; my arms are bruised. They put me in a cell without a bed, with three other prisoners, including a prostitute and a car thief.
They threw the food through a little window in the door. I laid on the floor covered with my tallit.
“I’m a tough cookie, but I was just so miserable. And for what? I was with the Hadassah women saying Sh’ma Yisrael.”
In a press statement, the group said that it remains “committed to their struggle to gain the right of all women to pray at the Kotel, each according to her own custom, with Torah, tallit and voices raised in song.”
Israeli law, upheld by the Supreme Court, stipulates that it is forbidden to conduct a religious ceremony “contrary to accepted practice” at a holy site, or one that may “hurt the feelings of other worshipers.”
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report