Court: Women Should Not Have Been Arrested

Latest ruling presents Robinson's Arch as an option for women, but says they can pray at the Wall, as well.

04/25/13
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JERUSALEM  -- Women praying out loud at the Western Wall in prayer shawls do not disturb the public order and should not have been arrested, an Israeli court found.

The Jerusalem District Court ruled Thursday that five members of Women of The Wall should not have been arrested on April 11. The court also rejected a police request for a restraining order barring women from the site.

The women, members of the group that has agitated for women's prayer rights at the Western Wall, were arrested earlier this month and questioned for several hours by police before their release. Jerusalem Magistrate Court Judge Sharon Larry-Bavly ordered their release and rejected the police request that they be prevented from visiting the site for three months.

Thursday's hearing considered an appeal by the police over the restraining order.

In his decision, Judge Moshe Sobell said that the Supreme Court decision of 2003, which upheld a government ban on women wearing tefillin or tallit prayer shawls and reading from a Torah scroll at the Western Wall, was never intended to serve as an injunction which would apply criminal violations to women, according to a statement issued by the Women of the Wall after the hearing.

The decision also did not ban Women of the Wall from praying in the women's section, he said. The judge said that the women were not a danger to the public and that their prayer did not disturb the public order.

“The most important aspect of this ruling is the fact that Women of the Wall’s prayer in the women’s section of the Western Wall does not violate the 'local custom' and therefore does not imply a reasonable doubt of violation of the Law of Holy Places. The court has rejected any reasonable cause for a policy of repeated detainment and arrests of Women of the Wall by police,” said the group's attorneys, David Barhoum and Einat Horovitz, in a statement.

Women of the Wall has held a special prayer service at the holy site almost each month for the last 20 years on Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the new Hebrew month, at the back of the women's section.

Women participating in the Rosh Chodesh service have been arrested nearly every month since June for wearing prayer shawls or for “disturbing public order."

“Today Women of the Wall liberated the Western Wall for all Jewish people. We did it for the eight-year-old girl who can now dream of having her Bat Mitzvah at the Wall, and for the grandmother who cannot climb on a chair in order to see her grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. We did it for the great diversity of Jews in the world, all of whom deserve to pray according to their belief and custom at the Western Wall,” Anat Hoffman, the group's chair, said in a statement.

“The decision of the District Court and the reactions to it only strengthen the need for a sustainable, agreed solution, which will allow every Jew to feel at home at the Western Wall, as the basis for any resolution. An agreed solution reached through dialogue, understanding and mutual compromise will ensure that the Western Wall remains a symbol of unity for the entire Jewish people,” Natan Sharansky, chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, said in a statement issued Thursday afternoon.

Sharansky added: “Now that we have an agreed outline, I call on all the sides to move forward and implement it.”

editor@jewishweek.org

Last Update:

04/29/2013 - 04:58

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No -"Women of the Wall" do not have a right to pray however they want, whether in their own bedrooms or at the Kosel (the Wall).

And a greater number of ignorant voices will never overcome the knowers of wisdom, nor will they have a right to overcome them.

The wolf said he wants to eat in "peace" and you believe him. He wants to make "pieces".

The Women at the Wall should not even pray at Robinson's Arch. They are not tzniusdik (they are not modest) and have a belligerent view of Torah.

Women of the Wall DID NOT liberated the Western Wall for me.
And who said Israelis are not interested in the Wall (the Kosel)?
They are interested and we are interested, all Jews together.

Women of the Wall have a right to pray however they want. However, when there are certain standards set in a certain place, and yes, the fact that every day since the liberation of the Western Wall, and before 1948, the people who flocked to the Western Wall have been traditional men and women, who want to pray traditionally, makes a difference to what the standards are. When non traditional Jews are able to get daily numbers to the Western Wall in as great numbers as Orthdox Jews and Traditional jews, then maybe it might make sense for them to claim that they have an equal say. But its a very small movement, in comparison to huge amounts of people in Israel that are traditional or traditionally minded, and even if they're not observant themselves, when they go to pray at the Western Wall or at any synagogue, they want it run by traditional standards. Why should a small group of American people, most of whom are here for one year, have the right to force their standards on Israelis when Israelis, as this article stated, aren't even interested in the Kotel? And if the Women of the Wall wanted to simply pray in peace, and not cause a provocation, they could pray at Robinson's Arch, a place with the same amount of holiness, just that won't cause waves. A place of prayer shouldn't be used as a place to push political agendas or stage protests- that's what the courtroom is for. The Women of the Wall, regardless of what laws state is allowed or not, are being disrespectful of the vast majority of people who want things run traditionally at the Kotel.
http://WomenForTheWall.org <-- An organization dedicated to preserving tradition at the Western Wall and making it a pleasant place for women to pray.

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