Jewish women held for 'manly behaviour'

2013-04-11 17:50
An Israeli policewoman speaks to a member of the liberal religious group Women of the Wall wearing phylacteries and a "Tallit" traditional Jewish prayer shawl for men at the Western Wall. (Gali Tibbon, AFP)

An Israeli policewoman speaks to a member of the liberal religious group Women of the Wall wearing phylacteries and a "Tallit" traditional Jewish prayer shawl for men at the Western Wall. (Gali Tibbon, AFP)

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

kalahari.com

Jerusalem - Israeli police on Thursday detained five women at a Jerusalem holy site for performing religious rituals, which ultra-orthodox Jews say are reserved for men.

The detentions came just a day after an Israeli organisation proposed a compromise to diffuse tensions over the issue of women's worship at the Western Wall.

The proposal, which still has to be approved by the government, envisions establishing a new section at the site where men and women can pray together.

About 120 women arrived on Thursday morning for their monthly prayer service and police detained five for wearing prayer shawls, said police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld.

He said they were later released without charge.

Rosenfeld said an ultra-orthodox man was also detained for burning a prayer book in protest and was still in custody.

The Western Wall, the only remaining part of the biblical Temple compound, is the holiest site where Jews can pray.

It is currently divided into men's and women's sections.

Orthodox rabbis, who control Israel's religious institutions, oppose mixed-gender prayers.

In recent months, female worshippers have been detained at the site for wearing religious garments and leading prayers.

On Wednesday, Natan Sharansky, chairperson of the semi-governmental Jewish Agency, offered a compromise that could mark a significant victory for liberal streams of Judaism in their long quest for recognition.

After the arrests on Thursday, the agency again urged for compromise.

"The events at the Western Wall today are one more reminder of the urgent need to reach a permanent solution and make the Western Wall once again a symbol of unity among the Jewish people, and not one of discord and strife," the agency said in a statement.

Tamar Zandberg, a dovish lawmaker who joined the woman and wore a prayer shawl herself on Thursday, accused the government of duplicity.

She was spared detention because of her parliamentary immunity.

"The first step we see after this initiative is the arrest of women at the Wall," she said. "The idea is great but the test is in the execution. Today was the first test and the government failed."

While most Israelis are secular, Judaism has a formal place in the country's affairs, and orthodox rabbis govern events such as weddings, divorces and burials for the Jewish population.

The ultra-orthodox, who follow a strict brand of Judaism that promotes religious studies over work, military service and other involvement in modern society, have traditionally wielded vast political power - although they make up only about 10% of the population.

However, the ultra-orthodox have been left out of the new Israeli government, raising hopes among liberal Jews that reforms can be promoted.

Resistance

The orthodox rabbinate has fiercely resisted inroads by the progressive reform and conservative streams of Judaism, refusing to recognise their rulings, conversions or ceremonies as religiously valid.

This has led to a deepening rift with American Jews, most of who are affiliated with the liberal streams.

Sharansky's proposal aims to soothe over the differences by creating a permanent area for mixed-gender and women-led prayer.

It would be located in an area on a lower level, where limited mixed-gender prayer already is allowed, but which mainly serves as an archaeological site.

The area would be renovated with a platform that would place it at the same level as the rest of the Western Wall plaza and it would be open to worshippers around the clock, just like the existing men's and women's sections.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv, who heads Israel's Reform Jewish movement, applauded Sharansky's initiative while also slamming Thursday's arrests.

"We are deeply disappointed because we believe that in order to move forward with any concept of compromise of joint vision to this site a few basic conditions must be met," he said.

"The left hand of the government is detaining the women while the right hand of the government is seeking ways to open doors," Kariv added. "The new government has to decide if they truly want to seek a comprehensive solution or if all they are trying to do is to please world Jewry for a few months."

- AP
Read more on:    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
24 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
 

17 photo illusions that look so real

What if they aren’t illusions? What if that dog really has a human foot – then what?

 
 

For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!
New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!
Puppy goes crazy over iPad game

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

.Net Developer

Cape Town Northern Suburbs
Communicate Cape Town IT
R35 000 - R38 000 Per Month

Catering Firm in need of Driver (Code 8)

Cape Flats
Dymasize (Pty) Ltd
R8 000 Per Month

Sales Account Manager - Dealership Accounts

Milnerton
Your Move Personnel
R5 000 - R5 500 Per Month

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

Pre-order your iPhone 6 at kalahari.com

Hurry and pre-order your own iPhone 6 now at SA’s favourite online store!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blow low prices on electronics

Get either the Prestigio multiphone or Proline tablet 7” tablet for only R699. Offers valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off Barbie toys

Save 30% on all Barbie toys and accessories. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Baby extravanganza month at kalahari.com

Celebrate baby month with a wide range of awesome baby products. Offers 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Don`t judge so quickly or expect too much, be more accepting and understanding and make space for fun and spontaneity. ...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.