Images showed hundreds of ultra-Orthodox protesters pushing police to try to reach women
Clashes broke out in Jerusalem on Friday morning between hundreds of ultra-Orthodox protesters and police as members of the “Women of the Wall” movement came to pray at the Western Wall site.
The “Women of the Wall” regularly come to the site to pray on the occasion of the celebration of Rosh Hodesh, at the beginning of each month.
“The behavior of the Women of the Wall is a provocation. The Western Wall is dear to all of us, religious, secular and haredi. They don’t come to pray, they come to provoke us and undermine the sanctity of the Western Wall. “said far-right MP Itamar Ben Gvir, who visited the scene.
Although no violence by the Women of the Wall was reported, television footage showed hundreds of ultra-Orthodox protesters pushing police in an attempt to reach worshipers.
Itamar Ben Gvir complained about alleged violence used by police to quell protesters, while two Women of the Wall worshipers said Haaretz that it was “absurd” that in 2021 women could not read Torah at the Western Wall.
“This Torah is our inspiration for a fight for tolerance, equality and religious pluralism. We are fighting for Israeli democracy, not just for ourselves. We will read the Torah today, despite the disruptions, ”they said.
The Women of the Wall were eventually forced to leave the square by security guards.
The movement is supported by liberal Jewish movements which give equal place to women and men in rituals, but which are very much in the minority in Israel.
The leaders argue that “the ultra-Orthodox no longer have a monopoly on Judaism and that the government recognizes that there is no one way to be Jewish in Israel and abroad.”
But for the ultra-Orthodox, the group’s claims violate Jewish religious precepts and constitute a “provocation”.