JERUSALEM (JTA) — Four female students from Hebrew Union College, including two Americans, were asked to lift their shirts and skirts for security before being allowed to enter the Western Wall plaza.
The women were part of a group of 15 rabbinical, cantorial and Jewish education students from North America and Australia who joined about 200 men and women in an egalitarian morning service held Wednesday morning on the plaza behind the men’s and women’s sections.
The women were questioned, pulled aside into a private room and asked to lift their shirts and skirts. The Western Wall security did not say what they were looking for, according to the Israel Religious Action Center of the Reform movement, or IRAC, though it is likely that they were looking for a small Torah scroll or other religious articles.
Thousands of people a day enter the plaza after walking through metal detectors. “There is no reason to do this to these four young women,” Steven Beck of the IRAC told JTA. “It is purely an intimidation tactic.”
The egalitarian service took place on Wednesday morning after the monthly Rosh Chodesh service of the Women of the Wall group. About 100 women participated.