Women Of The Wall Hold Impromptu Prayer Service At Kotel Without Incident
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Women of the Wall (WoW) held a small impromptu public prayer service at the Kotel (Western Wall) early today without incident. The rare non-Rosh Hodesh service reportedly took place because an American supporter of WoW was in town but would not be in Jerusalem for WoW’s regular monthly Rosh Hodesh service next week, the JTA reported.
The Wow group sang and wore tallits (prayer shawls) and tefillin (phylacteries).
WoW’s regular monthly prayer service draws hundreds of women and has led to haredi protests and riots.
But the unexpected WoW prayer service caught haredim off guard, and WoW’s prayers went on undisturbed and unprotested.
“The disturbance of the peace and all the problems come from those who protest Women of the Wall, and the lack of police intervention with that. If the police would stop the people disturbing the prayer, it would just be a prayer,” a WoW spokeswoman told the JTA.
Several months ago, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that WoW’s prayer services are legal.
WoW successfully prayed at the Kotel twice after that, each time under heavy police protection and with accompanying haredi riots and violence.
But last month police suddenly forced WoW to pray at the very rear of the large Western Wall plaza next to the bathrooms and out of sight of the Kotel proper, citing the need to protect the public from violence, even though the Jerusalem District Court had specifically rejected that claim and sharply told police that the haredi rioters – not WoW – were the dangers to public order that had to restrained.
Wow, which asked the state-paid haredi rabbi of the Kotel for a Torah scroll to use in its regular service next week – a request that will almost certainly be denied – reportedly intends to hold the prayer service in area adjacent to the Western Wall Plaza to avoid police interference with their prayers.
The Likud-led government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has remained silent on the most recent mistreatment of WoW by police.
Netanyahu needs the support of haredi political parties in order to retain power if his government falls.