Ultra-Orthodox Jews Protest at Women with Skullcaps at Western Wall

Published June 4th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Ultra-orthodox Jewish men scuffled with police Sunday while protesting at the Western Wall against women praying in religious garb traditionally reserved for men. 

Ultra-orthodox Jewish women meanwhile booed the 70 women from a more liberal stream of Judaism who wore prayer shawls and skullcaps as they prayed on the side of the western Wall reserved for women. 

Some of the men got into a shoving match with police who tried to hold them back, while about 50 of the protesters shouted insults, including "Christian Lesbians," at the women from the more relaxed conservative stream. 

Three ultra-orthodox men were seen by AFP being detained by police. 

On May 22nd, the supreme court authorized women of the conservative stream to pray as they wished at the Wall, believed by Jews as the remains of the western wall of the Second Hebrew Temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. and Judaism's holiest shrine. 

Ultra-orthodox Jews in the Knesset sought to derail the ruling by approving last Wednesday in a preliminary reading a bill to jail Jewish women for up to seven years if they pray at the Wall wearing garb that the orthodox reserve for men. 

But the bill would have to pass another three readings before it could become law, which appears unlikely. 

Conservative Jews are a small minority in Israel, but a much larger proportion of US Jews belong to the movement. 

Disagreements in Israel between the stronger orthodox Jews and two smaller but more liberal streams of Judaism, the conservative and the reform, have triggered tension between American Jews and Israel - OCCUPIED JERUSALEM (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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