Women of the Wall gathered at the Kotel in May.

Haredi Orthodox Lawmaker Compares Women of the Wall to Banned Muslim Group

A haredi Orthodox lawmaker in Israel compared the Women of the Wall organization to the Muslim Murabitat, a banned group of women who harass Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount.

“The Murabitat women receive money from the Islamic Movement to create provocation and prevent Jews from ascending the Temple Mount,” Rabbi Yisrael Eichler of the United Torah Judaism party said. “Whereas the Women of the Wall get money from the Reform Jews to create disturbances at the Western Wall.”

Eichler made his comments Sunday during a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. He said in response to criticism from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he made the statement in order to see that it was recorded into the minutes of the meeting, the Israeli daily Maariv reported.

The Murabitat is outlawed in Israel.

Lawmakers Zehava Gal-on of the Meretz party and Shelly Yachamovich of the Zionist Union denounced Eichler at the meeting.

“Eichler represents a very extreme Jewish minority who see the Kotel as their own private synagogue,” Women of the Wall said in a statement. “Women of the Wall’s struggle threatens this ‘Haredi Kotel’ vision, and in his perspective, anyone who does not agree with him is the enemy. If it were up to Eichler, women would be all together excluded from the Kotel or forced to dress up like the Taliban in order to enter.”

Women of the Wall gathers at the Western Wall at the start of each Jewish month for the morning prayer service. Its members have clashed frequently with staff from the office of the rabbi of the Western Wall and the holy sites of Israel, and with police for holding services that violate the rules enforced by the office.

A 2013 Supreme Court ruling acknowledged the women’s right to pray at the Western Wall according to their beliefs, claiming it does not violate what has come to be known as “local custom.”


Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires 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 and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. 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 Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Haredi Orthodox Lawmaker Compares Women of the Wall to Banned Muslim Group

Thank you!

This article has been sent!