Women Of The Wall Prays At Kotel Proper In Relative Peace As Small Number Of Haredim Protest
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A small number of haredim screamed, shouted and tried to "use force" to stop members of Women of the Wall from praying at the Kotel (Western Wall) proper Wednesday morning, Arutz Sheva reported.
According to most reports, the approximately 100 WoW members at the Kotel outnumbered female haredi protesters who had planned to flood the site to prevent WoW from praying.
Haredim claimed the Kotel's haredi rabbi, Shmuel Rabinowich, had asked them at last minute to stay away and not protest to give political and religious leaders a chance to work out a compromise between WoW, non-Orthodox Jewish movements, haredim and the government.
"Whoever wants a solution must take a step toward trust-building. Whoever continues the struggle at this time is showing that his entire intent is to sabotage the contacts and re-ignite matters on the ground, in which case I do not know what point there is to everyone's efforts,” Rabinowich reportedly said today.
However, Rabinowich has made similar calls for peace in previous months which haredim ignored, while Rabinowich at the same time attempted to disrupt WoW's prayers by using loudspeakers to drown them out and cause confusion.
But last month, police finally stopped Rabinowich from using the loudspeakers and the haredi protests fizzled.
Many observers believe the lack of an organized anti-WoW protest this month has more to do with the collapse of last month's planned protest and weak support among haredim for a protest this month than it does with Rabinowich's call for compromise – especially because Rabinowich has consistently blamed all haredi anti-WoW violence on WoW's alleged "provocations" – i.e., praying out loud at the Kotel proper in the women's section as the Jerusalem District Court ruled WoW has the legal right to do.
The compromise reached by the government with WoW – in part by WoW's leader, Anat Hoffman, excluding many of the group's founders and oldest members from the decision to accept it – calls for WoW to pray in the new egalitarian section at Robinson's Arch once it is made equivalent and contiguous with the existing Kotel area.
Robinson's Arch has no inherent sanctity and has no history of Jewish prayer – causing many WoW members to oppose the compromise.
WoW's attendance was down sharply this month with attendance that is less than half of what had recently become the group's norm.