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Woman Detained for Taking Torah to Kotel

Israel Police officers detained a women’s rights activist at the Western Wall and confiscated her Torah scroll.

Rachel Cohen Yeshurun, a Women of the Wall board member, was taken into police custody prior to a service Friday and released shortly afterwards, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Women of the Wall runs gender egalitarian services at the holy site in defiance of the state-imposed regulations.

Yeshurun and other Women of the Wall members came to the site for their monthly Rosh Hodesh service with a scroll she placed in her bag. In Orthodox Judaism, only men carry Torah scrolls.

Upon going through security in the early hours of the morning, Yeshurun was confronted by officials of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which operates the site, to open her bag. She refused.

“The police came over and said they were going to take me to the police station and detain me,” Yeshurun told The Jerusalem Post. “When I told them I didn’t want to go, they told me they would take me by force.”

Rules established by Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Rabbi of the Western Wall, permit women to wear prayer shawls, but bringing a Torah to the wall is strictly forbidden.

Mickey Rosenfeld, the foreign press spokesperson for the Israeli Police, said Yeshurun’s detention was a direct consequence of breaking this rule.

Yeshurun was not charged with any crime or other violation.

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