Five Women Detained at Monthly Kotel Protest

Confrontations Continue Despite Sharansky Plan for Wall

Wall Fight: Women wear prayer shawls at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Despite the compromise plan proposed for the holy site, confrontations are likely to continue for now.
getty images
Wall Fight: Women wear prayer shawls at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Despite the compromise plan proposed for the holy site, confrontations are likely to continue for now.

By Reuters

Published April 11, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli police detained five women activists on Thursday at the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s most sacred sites, for wearing prayer shawls, which Orthodox tradition sees as solely for men, a spokesman said.

The incident occurred during a monthly prayer session by the Women of the Wall, a group opposed to police-enforced Orthodox controls at the Jerusalem holy site, where worshippers are segregated by sex in accordance with strict Jewish tradition.

“Police detained for questioning five women who prayed with religious garments at the Wall … and an ultra-Orthodox man who burnt a book belonging to the Women of the Wall,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The group’s monthly gatherings at the Western Wall often end with arrests of women who don prayer shawls or read publicly from the holy scriptures, a rite also reserved under Orthodox ritual for men.

Such scenes have caused consternation within the Reform and Conservative movements of Judaism, which are predominant among Jews living outside Israel and allow men and women to pray side by side.

On Wednesday, officials said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was considering a plan to convert an old archaeological dig south of the Wall to an area where men and women would be allowed to mix and worship freely.

Natan Sharansky, a former Israeli cabinet minister who put together the proposal at Netanyahu’s request, said it would not entail structural damage around al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, above the Western Wall.

The sites came under Israel’s control in the 1967 Middle East war when it captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.