Ultra Orthodox men arrested over 'Women of the Wall' protests
Members of the liberal Jewish religious group Women of the Wall wear phylacteries and the "Tallit" shawl, traditional Jewish prayer apparel for men, as they pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on Friday. AFP Photo
Jerusalem police were yesterday holding five ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who tried to disrupt landmark prayers by women Jewish activists at the Western Wall plaza in the Holy City.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that 1,000 ultra Orthodox men were kept away from a large group of “Women of the Wall“ activists conducting their monthly prayer using prayer shawls, after a court ruled they could do so.
Ultra-Orthodox men had tried to break through reinforced police lines and reach the women, some calling police holding them back “Nazis“ and yelling offensive remarks at the women while others blew on whistles to drown out their prayers.
Two police officers were lightly injured and treated at the site, but no women were hurt and they managed to complete their prayers, some holding flowers alongside prayer books.
The women activists have for more than 20 years demanded to be allowed to pray using their form of liberal Judaism at the site, while wearing fringed prayer shawls and other religion-related objects and reading from Torah scrolls. But police, acting under court orders, would distance and detain them for conduct considered “provocative” to ultra-Orthodox believers, some of whom would accost the women, creating disturbances.
Last month, a court determined the women’s conduct was not causing disruption, rather it was those who were attacking them, and ruled that the Women of the Wall could pray at the site using their rites.
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