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Israel Arrests Four Women for Praying at the Wailing Wall

Police in Israel arrested four women for daring to pray at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in an unapproved manner, something that only men are allowed to do. Haaretz has an article about the arrests and the fallout from them:

Four women were detained by Israel Police on Friday morning, after donning tallitot, or prayer shawls, at the Western Wall. The women arrived with Women of the Wall, a group of Jewish women who fight for the right to wear tallitot, pray, and read from the Torah out loud at the Western Wall.

“How ironic that as Jews around the world celebrate the victory of spirit over forced assimilation, that Jews who want to pray have their rights denied by an ultra-Orthodox hegemony,” the World Union for Progressive Judaism, an international umbrella organization of the Reform, Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist Jewish movements, said in a statement. “We call upon the State to heed its own Supreme Court and find a resolution. Until that happens, Israel still fails to live up to the ideals upon which it was founded, as a haven for Jews everywhere.”

The first woman detained on Friday was Women of the Wall board member Rachel Cohen Yeshurun, who refused to remove her prayer shawl as she entered the Western Wall Plaza. According to other members, she was detained and interrogated even before she approached the holy site, accused of disturbing the public order and of obstructing a police procedure.

The other three women – Rabbi Elyse Frishman of Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes, N.J., and two 18-year-old British women participating in a World Union sponsored Netzer gap-year program in Israel – were held and interrogated. According to a statement by Women of the Wall, all four refused to sign an admission of disturbing the public peace and were released after three hours.

Ah yes, that famous catchall of “disturbing the peace,” which can be made to cover anything the police don’t like.

Comments

  1. slc1 says

    Just another illustration of Christopher Hitchen’s comment that religion poisons everything. Israel, like its Arab neighbors, is in danger of having its government hijacked by the fucken born agains.

  2. MikeMa says

    For a reasonably progressive country, Israel certainly knows how to kick it old school. I think the wall ought to be open to all most of the day and reserve an hour for the orthodox morons to pray alone.

  3. tbp1 says

    Maybe this is gonna sound like the “why didn’t she just leave her abusive boyfriend before he beat her up?” school of thought, but why would any woman with an ounce of self-respect want to a part of a religion that clearly regards women as innately inferior to men? All of the Big 3 monotheistic religions are misogynist to the very core. All the “Reform, Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist” window dressing in the world can’t change that. Of course I think women should be allowed to pray at the Wailing Wall when and how they please, but why would they want to?

  4. Michael Heath says

    From the Israeli government’s perspective*, who owns the wall?

    I’d like to know if this goes beyond religionist bigotry and extends into state fascism. Obviously both if the Israeli government asserts the wall is public property controlled by Israel. If it’s private property which doesn’t enjoy state financial support, than we’re dealing with the standard-issue misogyny which dominates the fundamentalist sects of all the Abrahamic religions.

    *I’m parsing my words carefully here because some Palestinians sovereignty over the Old City, which is where the Western Wall is located. I don’t think this claim is relevant to my trying to understand the Israeli government’s culpability in the discrimination against these women.

  5. Larry says

    Why did the cops have to take action. If Jehovah, or Yahweh, or whatever the fuck their sky pixie is called, was offended, shouldn’t it have taken appropriate smiting action?

  6. says

    People, please! It’s the Wailing Wall. They were praying at the Wailing Wall. Everybody knows you wail at the Wailing Wall. With an electric guitar, preferably. Amen.

  7. anubisprime says

    Seems like the greatest oppressors, the most proliferate perpetrators of repression, the most prejudiced, bigoted, hateful and the most biassed against religion…are the religious!

    All their spluttering, mewling, and crocodile tears about a secular and atheistic conspiracy to deny them their delusion….is just plain old projection!

  8. says

    It’s a theocracy. What else do you expect?

    The tendency of theocracies is to refine themselves. At first, it’s “us against the world” but eventually it becomes different branches of “us” against other branches of “us” in fractal detail until there’s just one branch left standing. And that’s usually the most cunning, vicious, and durable branch. Take a look at the papacy, for example…

  9. says

    @Olav #9
    the Western Wall Heritage Foundation

    Interesting stuff!!

    I like the way it starts:
    On June 7th, 1967, Israeli paratroopers liberated the Old City of Jerusalem. Soon, thousands upon thousands of Jews thronged to the Western Wall, the only remnant of our Temple.

    So it’s theirs by virtue of paratroopers? If the Romans send paratroopers and take it back, is it Roman, again? Is this some endless game of “tag” in which whoever last had a piece of land taken from them is now the one justified in reclaiming it ad paratrooperum ad infinitum? But can’t we argue that, since they only left a small chunk of wall, that the Romans owned it most thoroughly and therefore have the most right to reclaim it again? Fortunately for Israel the Romans have returned to not giving a shit about what’s going on at the ass end of the empire.

    Sophistimacated theology gets complicated when it comes into contact with the real world – most notably land rights, doesn’t it?

  10. dingojack says

    tbp1 (#3) – perhaps they are foolish enough to think [gasp of horror] they might be able to change things by shaming the idiots in charge by civil disobedience.. {just a thought].

    MO (#7) – Do I have to bring my own whale, or will one be provided for me?

    Dingo

  11. left0ver1under says

    Remember folks, women approaching that wall would have been arrested before the hasidic nutballs appeared. It’s an ongoing sexist policy in that religion, not a recent development.

  12. anubisprime says

    dingojack @ 12

    Do I have to bring my own whale, or will one be provided for me?

    Reminded me from a bit of cultural urban legend…or it might actually be true…

    Rev/Doc Ian Paisley having a typical rave and rant at secular and modern society in the 70’s was sermonizing as only he can with that thick Northern Ireland accent on the town hall steps or some such…along the lines of…

    “At the clarion call you will stand in trembling judgement before the lawd’…There will be weeping there, and a great gnashing of teeth’

    Some wit in the audience heckled him with a line…”I ain’t got no teeth!”

    To which the good Doctor replied without batting an eyelid or dropping a beat..

    “Teeth will be provided” !

  13. F [disappearing] says

    Isn’t this one of those things where you would know that this is exactly what would happen (limited by the fact that they were not accosted by a bunch of ultra-orthodox men first), and these women just “pushed the envelope”? In a sense, it isn’t news, it’s a confirmation.

  14. Abdul Alhazred says

    As a nominal member of the tribe but not the faith, am I allowed not to give a shit?

    Women of the Wall need to lose their allegiance to the abusive husband in the sky, period.

    I will say this for Women of the Wall. As totally wrong religious crazies go (especially in that part of the world) they are fairly harmless.

  15. anubisprime says

    The good news is that when a religious meme…that for centuries was invoidable sacrosanct and un-challenged…gets in conflict and that conflict becomes visible and reported on globally…

    well it is ‘all over now baby blue!’ …the theist has lost because his word has lost its ancient mysticism / mojo, and theism needs mysticism / mojo like gravity needs mass!
    They might well whine and complain, but they have lost the power that silences, they have lost control!

  16. sebastianmarch says

    F16, isn’t this true of all acts of civil disobedience? Are you saying the news shouldn’t cover such things?

  17. Doug Little says

    Everybody knows you wail at the Wailing Wall. With an electric guitar, preferably. Amen.

    Rock on. \m/

  18. tsig says

    Religion: A bunch of small cocks crowing on their own dunghills.

    BTW: The Wailing Wall would be a great name for a blues band.

  19. says

    “So it’s theirs by virtue of paratroopers? If the Romans send paratroopers and take it back, is it Roman, again?”

    Seeing as how it was built at a time when the area was under Roman control, it technically should belong to the Romans. Except for those parts that weren’t finished until the 7th century. Those belong to the Umayyads. And, well, the Ottomans added some layers. And then too did the Muslims in Jerusalem just prior to those Israeli paratroopers “liberating” the wall.

  20. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    For a reasonably progressive country, Israel – MikeMa

    Excuse me, what’s the value of the fine structure constant in your universe?

  21. grumpyoldfart says

    Alexi Sayle tried to get in touch with his Jewish roots and went on a pilgrimage to learn more about his religion. He said it was like banging his head against a brick wall.

  22. tbp1 says

    @12, dingojack: “tbp1 (#3) – perhaps they are foolish enough to think [gasp of horror] they might be able to change things by shaming the idiots in charge by civil disobedience.. {just a thought].”

    You might well be right, but for me it’s essentially the same as blacks trying to join the KKK and reform it from within. It’s irredeemably corrupt and its very existence is antithetical to their interests.

  23. slc1 says

    Re Marcus Ranum @ #26

    Compared to the neighbors, Israel is pretty benign. If this were taking place in Iran, the ladies would probably be shot.

    Re Nick Gotts @ #27

    It’s certainly progressive compared to the neighbors.

  24. Ichthyic says

    If the Romans send paratroopers and take it back, is it Roman, again?

    wait, the Romans have paratroopers now? Holy fuck, we are so screwed!

  25. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    It’s certainly progressive compared to the neighbors. – slc1

    Well it’s certainly progressive compared to an advocate of genocide such as you.

  26. says

    slc1 @#30 –
    Compared to the neighbors, Israel is pretty benign

    That wasn’t my question. My question was whether you thought that a worse atrocity being committed somehow excused the other one.

  27. Pierce R. Butler says

    … daring to pray at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in an unapproved manner, something that only men are allowed to do.

    Men are allowed to pray in unapproved manners?!?

    It’s smitin’ time!

  28. slc1 says

    Re Ichthyic @ #32

    The war was started by Egypt which ordered UN peacekeepers out of the Sinai Desert moved 100,000 troops to the border with Israel and announced over Egyptian radio that the purpose of the exercise was to annihilate Israel from the map of the world. Of course, fucktards like Mr. Ichthyic don’t take Muslim threats seriously, not surprising as they don’t live in the Middle East. One need only look at what’s happening in Syria to imagine what would happen in Israel if it let its guard down.

  29. slc1 says

    Re Ichthyic @ #37

    Saudi Arabia isn’t developing nuclear weapons to annihilate the entire population of Israel, something that Mr. Ichthyic heartily approves of.

  30. Ichthyic says

    Saudi Arabia isn’t developing nuclear weapons to annihilate the entire population of Israel, something that Mr. Ichthyic heartily approves of.

    now, where’s that giant strawman picture I had…

  31. Ichthyic says

    The war was started by Egypt

    nope.

    who stuck first, militarily? it’s a fucking matter of public record. Who increased their territory size by 3 fold?

    fail.

  32. Ichthyic says

    oh, btw, since SLC brought the subject up, it is true that the Saudis have no, and apparently do not ever intend, to have nuclear plants capable of producing material for weapons.

    however…


    Saudis consider nuclear bomb

    take it for what it’s worth, considering the source, but I rather doubt the Saudis NEVER contemplated acquisition of nuclear weapons.

  33. Sastra says

    “So I’m at the wailing wall, standing there like a moron, with my harpoon.” (Emo Phillips)

    Religious rules are simply made up — but the religious don’t want to recognize/admit it. If the womens’ protest works, then, it will only be because it motivates enough people in authority to “discover” that the rule was never really there in the first place. The protest, then, won’t work in the way most protests do, by getting an official rule changed. It has to pretend to be the official rule – just unrecognized by rabbis, known to God.

  34. slc1 says

    Re Ichthylic 43

    Mr. Ichthyic neglects to inform us that Nasser announced that his purpose was to force Israel to either stand down (Israel had called up 10s of thousands of reservists, grinding the economy to a halt) or attack. If Israel had stood down, it wouldn’t be here today. He informed the world that his forces would repulse any attack and deliver a decisive blow against Israel. Thus, the question of who fired the first shot is totally irrelevant . Unfortunately for Nasser and Mr. Ichthyic, he greatly underestimated the strength of the IDF and greatly overestimated the strength of the Egyptian armed forces.

  35. slc1 says

    Re Ichthyic @ #46

    Actually, the number of devices is the subject of much controversy. US Military intelligence places the number at 82. Vanunu places the number at 200. John
    Steinbach places the number at 5 to 6 hundred. In any case, it’s irrelevant as Israel requires the permission of the US to employ any of the devices (that was part of the agreement made when the US agreed to look the other way and not make an issue of the Israeli nuclear weapons program). Iran would not need the permission of anybody.

  36. imthegenieicandoanything says

    The women were arrested because, if the police had simply looked the other way and let this “law” or “custom” or “traditional excuse” or “bullshit prejudice” simply drop into the sinkhole of history, the nutty-and-potentially-violent-as-Al Quada Hasids would’ve organized a gang to “guard” the wall. And, given their give-me-an-inch-means-I-take-a-mile political philosophy (one they now study more seriously than Torah itself), they might well start excluding OTHER “impure” Jews (e.g. anyone not themselves.)

    In practice, the “deep religious faith” manifests in groups simply as a cover for excusing violence and murder performed to advance their political power. The twisting of the famously peaceful and mild Hasids, in the US as well, now that they are truly safe from government or social abuse, is a stark lesson about that.

  37. Ichthyic says

    If Israel had stood down, it wouldn’t be here today.

    well, I guess we’ll never know now, will we?

    . In any case, it’s irrelevant

    then so are Iran’s.

    equires the permission of the US to employ any of the devices

    ROFLMAO

    you’re funny.

  38. slc1 says

    Re Ichthyic @ #51

    Mr. ichthyic might recall the bombing of the alleged nuclear facility in Syria. In order to get permission of the POTUS, there was much back and forth and much trading of intelligence information before such permission was granted. Despite Mr. Ichthyic’s hilarity, the same holds true for any use of nuclear weapons by Israel.

  39. naturalcynic says

    Maybe this is gonna sound like the “why didn’t she just leave her abusive boyfriend before he beat her up?” school of thought, but why would any woman with an ounce of self-respect want to a part of a religion that clearly regards women as innately inferior to men? All of the Big 3 monotheistic religions are misogynist to the very core. All the “Reform, Liberal, Progressive and Reconstructionist” window dressing in the world can’t change tha. Of course I think women should be allowed to pray at the Wailing Wall when and how they please, but why would they want to?t

    That’s what the reform movements have tried to do – create gender equality, which happens most, if not all, of the time in their congregations. The religious/cultural identity remains important to believers and many Jewish non-believers. Or, as Rev Tevye sang “Tradition!!!”
    The reform movements just make cafeteria Catholics, Jews, Methodists etc.

  40. says

    “Despite Mr. Ichthyic’s hilarity, the same holds true for any use of nuclear weapons by Israel.”

    This very idea is silly. Given the circumstances under which a regime might utilize a nuclear weapon (either it’s an emergency where their very existence is at stake, or they’ve gone completely bonkers), there’s no way in hell they’re asking anyone for permission. That’s kind of the whole point of a nuclear weapon. It’s your ultimate trump card. If you have to go begging another nuclear power before using it, you may as well let them do it.

    In related news, neither the US nor Israel formally recognizes that Israel has nuclear weapons (it’s a violation of the non-proliferation treaty, plus it would force us to acknowledge our extreme double-standard). So where you came across the protocols for how Israel will or won’t employ these weapons that aren’t supposed to exist is a mystery. They surely didn’t mention it at a press conference.

  41. Ichthyic says

    Yawn.

    look, people really are getting tired of your irrelevant crap. seriously.

    StevoR got reamed for it over on Pharyngula, and he’s actively working to be more informed on the issues, I’m sure you could too.

    Itmt, I’m sure you will continue to be bombarded with rejections of your ignorant assholery.

    I just had my turn.

  42. says

    @slc1 do you think that one atrocity somehow cancels or reduces another? e.g.: that supposedly the fact that Iran would be worse (which many of us question) means it’s OK for the Israelis to act the way that they do?

    It’s a simple question.

  43. dingojack says

    Areaman said:
    “….So where you came across the protocols for how Israel will or won’t employ these weapons …”

    ‘The Protocols of the Nukes of Zion’? *

    Sorry -, carry on bickering.

    Dingo
    ——-
    * somewhat like the ‘Nukes of Hazzard’ but Hasidic rather than Good ol’ Boys.& Rednecks

  44. says

    One need only look at what’s happening in Syria to imagine what would happen in Israel if it let its guard down.

    Israel would sink into bloody protracted sectarian civil war if the Likudniks let women get uppity?

  45. laurentweppe says

    @bout SLC:

    Come on: He’s notorious for getting turned on by the idea of killing dark-skinned muslim middle-easterners, and will therefore jump at any opportunity to defend any goevrnment for which killing brown skinned muslim middle-easterners is a mater of course. So he will keep on pretending with this this charade meant to hide his creepy psycho-sexual fetish so long as someone is willing to play along.
    He does not need patient pedagogy, he needs to be reminded that No, he’s neither cunning nor subtle enough to hide the fact that every time the Middle-East is mentionned he can’t resist the urge to write advocacies for massacre of apologetics for massacre enablers with one hand while foundling himself with the other

    ***

    Israel would sink into bloody protracted sectarian civil war if the Likudniks let women get uppity?

    Remember that the local far-right has spent the last few years promising a bloody-civil war if too much effort to curb their privileges (among which, the privilege of fucking up women’s lives) was done by the israeli government.

  46. birgerjohansson says

    Regarding repression in different countries: Different countries are different. It’s complicated. There is better and worse, but there are no “white hats” in the real world.
    — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
    “Alexi Sayle tried to get in touch with his Jewish roots”

    I remember when he played the song “Play That Funky Music, Jewish Boy” in his TV show. :-)
    — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
    When the Canadian tundra thaws out (releasing even more greenhouse gasses and dooming us all) we could let both the Palestinians and the Israelis settle there (but with an Inuit-owned buffer zone). It is conveniently close to New York, which holds a lot of co-religionists for both groups. They could even truck their temples and mosques with them, stone by stone.
    The move would be financed by turning Israel/Palestine into a huge theme park, with access to the old archaeological sites at Jericho and elsewhere as an added attraction.
    The wailing wall will make a nice backdrop for Tom Jones as he performs every evening.

  47. Olav says

    Tom Jones, Birger? Seriously? Wouldn’t Justin Bieber be even better? With a huge ugly light show.

  48. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Yawn. – slc1

    This is slc1’s usual response when he has no possible answer with any rational content. It’s a bit of a puzzle why he thinks there’s any point to it – but then the psychology of advocates of genocide is undoubtedly odd, as well as vile.

  49. slc1 says

    Re Marcus Ranum, Laurentweppe, and Nick Gotts

    In other news, see attached link. Thus far, in excess of 40,000 people have died in Syria since the revolt against Assad fils began, in addition to 20,000+ dispatched by Assed pere in Hama. At the current rate of killing Palestinians, Israel will catch up with the Assads sometime in the 23 century, assuming that the killing in Syria stops shortly. Unfortunately, IMHO, the killing after Assad is deposed may be even worse as the Sunnis get even with the Alawites and other Assad supporters.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/syrian-airstrike-kills-dozens-at-bakery/2012/12/23/a311006a-4d28-11e2-950a-7863a013264b_story.html

  50. says

    I see. So you do appear to be arguing that Israel’s crimes are less important because someone else (in this case Syria) is worse.

    Presumably you also dismiss the holocaust. After all, the collectivization of agriculture in the USSR killed more people, so what the nazis did hardly matters. No big deal. Is that right?

  51. says

    @formerly KG
    It’s not simply that he’s genocidal; it’s that he has to have the kind of utterly warped value-system that encourages genocidal attitudes. I don’t think there’s any way to get there other than through religious zealotry, racism or collective revenge bigotry, because everyone can understand oppression and suffering – it takes a particular sort of mindset to say “making me suffer is wrong, but me making you suffer is just fine.”

    He’s just another racist coward who hides behind the internet to drool his bile down the front of his pants.

  52. slc1 says

    Re Marcus Ranum

    Comparing Israel with Syria is like comparing someone who steals some spoons at the restaurant with someone who sticks up a bank and bumps off all the tellers.

  53. slc1 says

    In a related development, it appears that the potential appointment of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense may be about the join the potential appointment of Susan Rice as Secretary of State in the dumpster. This administration appears to consist of a collection of pantywaists.

    h##p://www.timesofisrael.c#m/white-house-may-be-backtracking-on-hagel-for-defense-chief-post/

  54. Ichthyic says

    At the current rate of killing Palestinians, Israel will catch up with the Assads sometime in the 23 century

    pathetic.

    next you’ll be comparing it to Hitler and Stalin, and still not seeing how this is a logical fallacy.

  55. Ichthyic says

    Marcus at 57…

    SLC answered your question with 64.

    so, yes, yes he does like to use red herrings.

  56. Ichthyic says

    hey, SLC:

    We shouldn’t care about child rape in the CC because it happens in other organizations too, right?

    We shouldn’t care about Newtown, because school shootings aren’t the only kinds of mass murder, right?

    phht.

  57. slc1 says

    Re Ichthyic @ #70

    I think I responded to both Mr. Ichthyic and Mr. Ranum @ #67. By the way, there are now allegations that the Assad regime attacked Homs using chemical weapons. I suspect that before the violence in Syria abates, the death toll will exceed that in Lebanon and Algeria during their civil wars. The bloodbath and the refugee exodus that will take place after the Assad regime falls is mind boggling, unless there is a very large peace keeping force sent in to restore order.

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