For the first time in 24 years, Israel Police protected nearly 500 Women of the Wall members Friday morning as they gathered at the Western Wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem for their monthly prayer service. The women were confronted by thousands of ultra-Orthodox protesters, both young girls who watched from the side and men of all ages, who acted violently towards the group of women. Protesters reportedly threw stones, water bottlers, garbage and whatever else they could in their direction, and a few were reportedly arrested. The police managed to enable a small group of 20-30 women to actually reach the women's section…Read More... | 7 Comments
Hundreds of women - including MKs Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), Stav Shaffir (Labor) and Michal Rozin (Meretz) - gathered at Jerusalem's Western Wall in honor of Rosh Hodesh (first of the Hebrew calendar month, today, Nissan) Tuesday morning. They joined the usual group of women from the Women of the Wall movement, who go every month at 7 a.m. to pray there on the other side of the barricade separating them from the men - but are often harassed and prevented from doing so - and even at times, arrested. According to the regulations at the Western Wall, as determined by its chief rabbi, and…Read More... | 18 Comments
Anat Hoffman, longtime crusader for the advancement of progressive Judaism in Israel and a tireless activist for the rights of women to partake in religious traditions, was arrested last month while saying the Shma prayer at the Western Wall. Hoffman, the Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center and one of the founders of Women of the Wall (and a former Jerusalem City councilwoman) is no stranger to the law: it was the sixth time she has been arrested. Yet she says she has never been charged. When I interviewed her nine days later at a conference in Germany,…Read More... | 16 Comments
Head of Women of the Wall was held in custody the entire night after trying to pray at the holy site while wearing a prayer shawl - a practice reserved only for men, according to Orthodox Judaism. Three members of Women of the Wall (Neshot Hakotel), a group of Jewish women which seeks to conduct prayers and read from Torah at the Western Wall, were arrested by police in the last 24 hours, during the "Rosh Hodesh Heshvan" (new month prayers) at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. The head of the organization, Anat Hoffman, was arrested last night…Read More... | 31 Comments
From Pussy Riot to Women of the Wall, our male religious authorities are so intimidated by women mobilizing support for religious freedom and expression, that they feel the need to restrain, detain and jail this great potential for change. By Shira Pruce I admit that a few weeks ago, if you asked me, “What do Women of the Wall and Russian punk band Pussy Riot have in common?” I would have had a good long laugh while waiting for the punch line of your joke. However, since the arrests on Sunday, August 19, of four women at the Western Wall of Jerusalem, there has been nothing…Read More... | 4 Comments
After a group of settlers attacked a mosque in one of the villages of Ramallah in the West Bank, the Israeli army put checkpoints at the entrances of the closest settlement and checked the identity of every person going in or out of the settlement. On grounds of fear of escalation the police in Jerusalem decided to allow Jewish worshipers entrance to the Western wall only for those above fifty years of age. Many Jewish leaders protested the actions of the police especially as the closure of the Western Wall coincides with the Jewish high holidays. The police pointed out…Read More... | 73 Comments
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