Reform, Conservative Women Stage Protest at Kosel

YERUSHALAYIM -

Women MKs Join In

A group of Reform and Conservative women gathered at the Kosel on Tuesday, Rosh Chodesh Nisan, in what appeared to be an intentional  provocation.

Wearing tallisos, they entered the ezras nashim, where they sang loudly near the men’s section.

Anguished protests from mispallelim, including Orthodox women who were present, were to no avail.

A large deployment of police accompanied the women but made no arrests, even though the provocateurs’ behavior was in clear violation of the law and a High Court decision which bans the women from creating such disturbances in that area.

It also deviated from police practice at the Kosel for the past 22 months, when they diligently enforced the law. But this time they did nothing. The participation of female MKs, including newly elected ones, no doubt contributed to the police inaction.

In the wake of the incident, the Rav of the Kosel, Harav Shmuel Rabinowitz, issued a statement decrying the campaign.

Harav Rabinowitz said that “on Rosh Chodesh Nisan the Kosel saw some of the most difficult scenes since its liberation in 1967 from Arab hands.”

He charged that the women activists are “exploiting the Kosel to further their worldview, to stage demonstrations and bring about unwarranted confrontations between one Jew and another.”

“Their actions are illegal, in violation of the High Court ruling, opinions of the Attorney General, which permit them to gather next to Robinson’s Arch, but they insist on gathering in the ezras nashim, where their presence causes offense to others.”

He warned that their provocations “could return Yerushalayim to the kind of civil strife that caused its destruction in the past.”

Rav Rabinowitz concluded with a general appeal to all concerned to leave controversy outside the area of the Kosel, so that the Jewish people will have at least one place where all can come in peace, without demonstrations, confrontations or baseless hatred.

Condemnations came from across the political and religious spectrum. It should be noted that even a newly elected MK from Yesh Atid, MK Lavie, expressed her opposition to the participation of MKs. “As MKs, we have to serve as role models for upholding the law,” she said. “The participation of active MKs at this event … in violation of the law, is a serious step.”