Jewish women blocked at Western Wall

2013-07-08 21:20
Israeli policemen arrest an Orthodox Jewish youth during a protest against the liberal Jewish religious group, Women of the Wall. (Menamhem Kahana, AFP)

Israeli policemen arrest an Orthodox Jewish youth during a protest against the liberal Jewish religious group, Women of the Wall. (Menamhem Kahana, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Jerusalem - Several thousand ultra-Orthodox protesters effectively blocked Jewish women activists campaigning for equal worship rights at the Western Wall from holding a monthly prayer session on Monday at the holy site.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said members and supporters of the Women of the Wall group were escorted by police to a spot a short distance from the Western Wall "to make sure there would be no incidents".

A spokesperson for the movement, which is challenging the Orthodox monopoly over rites at the Western Wall, called the incident a setback after a court decided in April the women could legally don prayer shawls that Orthodox ritual says are meant for men only.

Prayer rites at the site, revered by Jews as a perimeter wall of the Biblical Temple, are part of a long struggle between Israel's secular majority and ultra-Orthodox minority over lifestyle in the Jewish state, where institutions such as marriage, divorce and burial are controlled by rabbis.

Women pray at a separate section, set apart from men. Women of the Wall want to be able to practice the rituals reserved by Orthodox law for men - such as wearing prayer shawls and reading out loud from the Torah, or holy scriptures - in their section.

"It's the first time in 25 years we could not reach the plaza," of the wall, Shira Pruce, a group spokesperson said. "They [police] held up back. It's our right to go there."

Tensions running high

The 300 activists instead prayed about 50m from the Western Wall. Some of the ultra-Orthodox protesters, who included women, threw eggs at the group, and cursed them and police. Rosenfeld said four of the ultra-Orthodox demonstrators were arrested.

Tensions were running high at the Western Wall, a day after the Israeli cabinet approved a draft law to abolish wholesale military draft exemptions for Jewish seminary students.

"We hope soldiers will die," one ultra-Orthodox youth shouted at a member of the paramilitary border police trying to block him from entering the Western Wall plaza.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asked former cabinet minister and Jewish leader Natan Sharansky to seek a compromise to permit the Women of the Wall to hold prayers without exacerbating tensions with the ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Sharansky has proposed a formula to widen a separate zone at the Western Wall once designated for egalitarian prayer, a suggestion neither side nor the government has yet embraced.

Also spurring Israel's drive to resolve the dispute is the support for the Women of the Wall movement in the United States in the influential Conservative and Reform movements of Judaism, which do not adhere to the Orthodox practice of gender separation in prayer.

Shmuel Rabinowitz, an Orthodox rabbi officially in charge of the Western Wall, told Reuters he objected to the activists trying to "impose their own customs" at the Western Wall, but voiced support for government efforts to seek a compromise.

"The Western Wall should be a unifying site. Everyone needs to give in a little," he said.

Read more on:    benjamin netanyahu  |  israel  |  religion
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
11 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 12:28 PM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    STATIONARY TRUCK blocking the Marine Drive exit
  • Friday Paarden Eiland - 12:20 PM
    Road name: Marine Drive Inbound
    QUEUING TRAFFIC towards N1 Highway
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be putting too much effort into someone or something. You are doing it out of love and compassion but there is a chance...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.