Police arrest woman for wearing prayer shawl at Western Wall
By Nir Hasson and Liel Kyzer • Ha'aretz
The woman was visiting the site with the religious women's group "Women of the Wall" to take part in the monthly Rosh Hodesh prayer.
Police were called to the area after the group asked to read a prayer aloud.
Police said they arrested the women in the wake of a High Court ruling, which states that the public visiting the Western Wall is obligated to dress in accordance with the sites' dress code.
Chairman of the women's group, Anat Hoffman, responded by saying that this is the first time in the history of Israel that a woman has been arrested because she wrapped herself in a talit and read from the Torah.
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, associate director of Israel's reform movement, said that all over the world women are entitled to wear the tallit, and only in the land of the Jews are they excluded from the social custom and even arrested for praying.
"Israeli police should be ashamed of themselves," Kariv said.
Last week Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Israel's chief Sephardi rabbi, said during his weekly sermon that the women in the feminist movement are "stupid" and act the way they do out of a selfish desire for equality, not "for heavens' sake."
Rabbi Ovadia also said about the groups' custom to pray at the Western Wall that "there are stupid women who come to the Western Wall, put on a tallit (prayer shawl), and pray," and added that they should be condemned.
Here's the Jerusalem Post's report:
Woman arrested, released for praying in talit at Western Wall
By JPOST.COM STAFF
A Jewish woman was arrested at the Western Wall on Wednesday morning, for praying while wearing a talit. The conservative woman, Nofrat Frenkel, was taking part in a 'Women of the Wall' Rosh Hodesh service in the women's section of the Kotel.
Police were alerted after the women requested to read from the Torah. The decision to arrest the Frenkel was based on a High Court ruling under which public coming to the Western Wall must dress according to the customs of the site, police said.
Frenkel told Army Radio that she was questioned by police for half an hour, and then released.
Israel Radio quoted Anat Hoffman, who chairs the 'Women of the Wall,' as saying that this was the first time in Israel that a woman has been arrested for wrapping herself in a talit, and reading from the Torah.
Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the head of the Reform movement in Israel, said that millions of women in the Jewish world enjoy the right to pray wearing a prayer shawl. He called the arrest "an embarrassment to the police and to the state," especially as it took place in the Jewish state and in the holiest site to Jewry.
The [haredi] rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitch, slammed Frenkel and her group for what he called a provocation, and rejected the notion that the group's intent was merely to conduct a peaceful dialogue with their Creator. "This is a prayer meant to bring strife and disagreement," he said on Army Radio. "Even if it is allowed according to Jewish law, the Kotel should remain out of disputes."
"The Kotel represents unity," the rabbi continued, and proceeded to call the women's Kotel prayer "an act of Korah," a prominent biblical figure who led a mutiny against Moses.
"The group's goal is to get attention and headlines," Rabinovitch continued. "They are trying to make a political fortune through hate. The group has a place to touch the Kotel, the High Court of Justice gave it all it needs," he said, referring to a ruling allocating an area adjacent to the Kotel, yet away from the public eye, where woman may don talitot.