Female members of Knesset joined Women of the Wall at their monthly gathering at Jerusalem’s Western Wall this morning and used their parliamentary immunity to wear the tallit, or prayer shawl.
No arrests were made and the service drew widespread media attention as well as heckling from ultra-Orthodox men, who chanted and blew the shofar to drown out the women’s prayers.
The MKS, Stav Shaffir (Labor), Michal Rozin (Meretz) and Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) were initially denied entry to the Kotel plaza, according to reports.
“It’s my duty to protect the rights of all to pray as they desire and believe,” Shaffir tweeted, adding “Western Wall today with Women of the Wall Nashot HaKotel”
Women of the Wall advocates for the right of women to pray at the Western Wall with traditional religious garments such as the tallit– which is currently illegal for women to wear there under Israeli law. Women today wore the tallit and phylacteries for the first time in more than 22 months without police intervention. The group enjoys widespread support among American Jewry, but is just beginning to achieve a degree of recognition and support among Israeli Jews.
Moment profiled the group’s fearless leader Anat Hoffman in our recent issue. Read here about Hoffman’s battle with the Israel’s Orthodox establishment.
“Today we took one more step in our struggle to liberating the Kotel,” she said today. “Thanks to the members of Knesset, we prayed today with tallit and tefillin, an act which for the last 22 months has carried with it the threat of arrest. We must keep up the pressure to end the oppression of women at the Kotel, to see a day soon when we read Torah in peace at the Kotel.