Haredi protesters clash with police during Women of the Wall services

Hundreds of haredi protesters clashed with police as the Women of the Wall held services at the Western Wall on Friday morning, despite the fact that MPs who had planned to participate and protest the event canceled their visits after a request from the president. Isaac Herzog on Thursday night.

“Following the president’s request, I announced that I would not arrive at the Western Wall tomorrow morning,” MK Gilad Kariv wrote overnight on Twitter. “Once again it became clear who is the side that believes in compromise and negotiation and who is the energetic and violent side. The Women of the Wall will arrive tomorrow morning, as is their custom in Rosh Chodesh prayers at the Wall. Occidental, and we will continue to support them, until the government fully implements the Western Wall scheme. “

MK Alon Tal also decided not to attend services on Friday. After the announcements, the haredi MPs decided to cancel their plans to come to the square to confront the Women of the Wall.

Police confront Women of the Wall as they attempt to smuggle a Torah scroll (Credit: Courtesy)

The police confronted Women of the Wall CEO Yochi Rappaport after she attempted to smuggle a Torah scroll into the women’s section of Western Wall Plaza.

On Thursday, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu again tweeted a call from Shas leader Arye Deri to thwart the scheduled Women of the Wall prayer service at the Kotel on Friday, sparking outrage.

Violence, particularly by Orthodox protesters, at the holy site was deemed likely following Deri’s comments and Netanyahu’s support.

On Thursday afternoon, Deri tweeted that he and 10 other MPs would go to the Kotel on Friday morning and called “anyone for whom the Western Wall is important to pray with us that, God forbid, this holy place will not be desecrated. “

Netanyahu retweeted Deri’s tweet, prompting condemnation from reformist and Masorti (conservative) leaders in Israel, and the Woman of the Wall.

At the same time, Mordechai Eliav, director of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which manages the site and is also responsible for security there, wrote a letter to the Jerusalem district police commander Doron Turgeman, telling him that in light of the thousands of protesters expected at the site and the participation of deputies, the organization was not responsible for ensuring public order at the site on Friday morning.

Regulations promulgated by the administrator of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, prevent someone from bringing a Torah scroll, a regulation he passed specifically to prevent the Women of the Wall from reading the Torah in their services.

Kariv condemned Netanyahu for his retweet, calling him “a hypocrite” and hinted that the former prime minister had previously spoken disparagingly about haredi behavior at the Western Wall.

The head of the Reform Movement in Israel, Anna Kislanski, said the organization “is hearing unprecedented efforts to incite political and orthodox forces against the faithful who want to pray according to their own custom at the Western Wall.

“The one who has gone further, as usual, is the opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who knows well that the majority of the Jewish people are associated with the liberal Jewish denominations but nevertheless decides to continue his destructive approach. that he started as prime minister when he trampled on the Western Wall agreement that he himself initiated, due to ultra-Orthodox pressure, ”Kislanski said.

The head of the Masorti Movement in Israel, Rakefet Ginsburg, called for immediate implementation of the Kotel accord, which Netanyahu originally endorsed, which would create a state-recognized egalitarian prayer section at the southern end of the Western Wall.

Ginsburg said recent violence at the site in previous months during Women of the Wall services should have raised a red flag for decision-makers, and said the Western Wall agreement must be implemented to prevent violence and even the shedding of blood there.

“We must not wait for a violent incident to take place to draw the necessary lessons. This is our duty as public leaders to work for dialogue, and I ask all leaders of all denominations to join this call to find a solution and calm the atmosphere, ”said Ginsburg.


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