Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told Religious Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday night she would not support changes to the law governing the holy sites that he is promoting to limit the activities of Women of the Wall. Livni told Bennett that such amendments required the justice minister’s approval.
The regulations Bennett is working on contradict last month’s ruling by Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Sobel. Sobel ruled that the Women of the Wall’s donning of prayer shawls and phylacteries and reading from the Torah in the Western Wall’s women’s section is not against the law.
Sobel made the ruling in response to a petition by police against the decision by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court to immediately and unconditionally release five women detained by police at the Western Wall Plaza last month.
The police made the arrest based on a previous opinion issued by the attorney general, in keeping with a High Court ruling, that prohibited women from wearing a prayer shawl or reading from the Torah at the plaza. But Sobel’s ruling stated that the women’s practices did not necessarily contradict what the law defines as “local custom” at the Western Wall.
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