Analysis News
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  • To reach Diaspora Jews, start by acknowledging their struggles

    Those who dismiss the struggle at the Western Wall because it ignores Palestinians should recognize how important the Kotel is to American Jews. Their struggle for justice might start at the Western Wall, but it doesn't necessarily end there. By Rachel Canar Something unprecedented happened in Jerusalem on Wednesday. More than 200 people, including 12 rabbis — leaders of the Reform, Conservative and Masorti movements — held a major Jewish protest against the status quo in Israel. It wasn’t about the occupation; it was about the rights of Jews of all streams to pray in their respective traditions at the Western Wall,…

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  • WATCH: Will you use Western Wall's new 'mixed prayer plaza?'

    After years of negotiations with reform and conservative movements of Judaism and ‘Women of the Wall,’ the Israeli government agreed to create an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where men and women can pray in the same space. We went to the Western Wall to ask people how they feel about the decision, and whether they would use the mixed prayer plaza. Read more: Women of the Wall victory can teach us a few things 'Why I cannot stand with Women of the Wall'

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  • The Beaten Path: The Western Wall as military parade grounds (part 2)

    It's still beautiful and moving, but recent decades have done something strange to the 'Kotel,' our first stop along the deconstructed tourist trail. What happens when a site is the object of both religious longing and military identity? Read part one of The Beaten Path, 'An introduction, or how to ruin a good story' There are so many advantages to not being a tourist. For one, I know the best way to get to Jerusalem from Tel-Aviv. Busses only reach the main terminal, which is located on the western outskirts of town and requires a further trip by the light rail.…

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  • 'Why I cannot stand with Women of the Wall'

    Nothing in Israel, or in the Middle East, is disconnected from anything else. Yet the issue of women’s religious access to the Kotel is treated, especially in North America, as if it exists in a vacuum. By Aryeh Cohen The story of Women of the Wall begins with the Wall. The story of the contemporary Wall begins with the Six-Day War in June of 1967. It begins not on June 7, when the Old City was captured and David Rubinger took his iconic photograph of three battle-weary Israeli soldiers standing in front of the Wall, nor even when the paratroopers’…

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  • Supporting roles: Men stand in solidarity with Women of the Wall

    While the running debate at the Western Wall has been over women’s prayer, Jewish men have been playing a supporting role in shifting 'local custom.' Women of the Wall may be exactly what their name implies: women. But standing and praying in solidarity with them this month were several dozen Jewish men. In between police barricades and the familiar fence enclosing the women's prayer area at the Western Wall Plaza, were about 30 Jewish men – Israel-born, immigrants, secular, Reform and Conservative, young and old. They came out to support approximately 300 Jewish women – many in religious garments traditionally…

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  • WATCH: Thousands of ultra-Orthodox protest women's prayer at Western Wall

    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…

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  • 3 women arrested while praying at Western Wall in 24 hours

    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…

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  • Abbott & Costello try to figure out who's where & what in Israel

    A couple of days ago, I came across this clip – one the greatest (if not THE greatest) comedy skits of all time. If you're not familiar with it (really?) please play, and enjoy. Inspiration kicked in, and I wrote two of my own versions. I couldn't decide which one I wanted to post, so I just figured I'll swamp you with both. The first one is actually the one I wrote later. At the bottom of this post, a small note from moi. --------------------------------- Abbott: Well, Costello, I'm going to Israel with you. Prime Minister Netanyahu gave me a…