(JTA) — Haredi protesters burned a Jewish prayer book near the Western Wall in Jerusalem to protest the actions of female worshipers seeking greater freedom at the holy site.
The incident Friday occurred as nearly 200 Women of the Wall activists arrived for their monthly prayer service at the Western Wall in celebration of the beginning of the Hebrew month of Av. Several thousand haredi protesters greeted them with booing and shouting.
The haredis and other conservatives oppose the group’s singing and, at times, use of prayer shawls, kippahs and Torah scrolls, which are reserved for men in Orthodox Judaism. Some of the protesters set fire to a prayer book bearing the group’s logo, Arutz 7 reported.
They “laughed with pleasure as a WOW participant burned herself trying to salvage it,” the group said in a statement.
According to the Foundation of the Heritage of the Western Wall, which administers religious services there, Women of the Wall declined to pray at a space allocated to them for this purposes, “triggering serious disturbances.”