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Feb 15 2013

Israel Again Arrests Women for Illegal Prayers

Israel has once again arrested a group of women for daring to pray at the Western Wall in ways that the state does not allow. That is, they were arrested for wearing traditional male prayer shawls rather than the female ones. Because that’s really important for some reason.

Police on Monday morning arrested 10 women for wearing tallitot while praying at the Western Wall, including Women of the Wall founder Anat Hoffman.

During an emotional monthly service featuring veterans from the 1967 Six Day War who fought in and around the Old City, police detained the women, including the sister of American comedian Sarah Silverman.

Police detained Israeli- American Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman and her daughter, Hallel, 17, at the Western Wall Plaza as they walked through the security gate toward Robinson’s Arch.

These women dared to show up wearing tallitots, or prayer shawls, that look like the ones traditionally worn by men (blue and white or black and white) instead of the ones traditional worn by men (which are multi-colored).

Police allow women to wear the colorful tallitot around their shoulders, which police refer to as “female tallitot” – as opposed to the larger “male tallitot,” which are blue and white or black and white, and worn folded across the shoulders.

“The moment they put on the other [male] tallit, it’s problematic,” Ben-Ruby said.

The Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that worshipers must “uphold the customs” of the holy site, though there is nothing written in the court decision about specific types of tallitot.

According to Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinovitch, a council led by the chief rabbi of Israel determined the customs of the site in 1967 when the Western Wall came under Israeli sovereignty.

“[The Women of the Wall] are trying to hurt and offend other people’s sensitivities,” Rabinovitch told The Jerusalem Post a number of weeks ago.

No, they’re trying to achieve equality. That equality offends bigots like you only speaks to how backwards you are, not to their motivation. Ultra-Orthodox Jews are often as totalitarian in their zeal for control as Bin Laden or the Christian Reconstructionists. And the government continues to support them and enforce their dictates. It’s disgusting.

31 comments

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  1. 1
    busterggi

    Details are very important when using magic like prayers. I wore mismatched socks once and accidentally summoned Pikachu instead of Cthulhu.

  2. 2
    Jacob Schmidt

    …that look like the ones traditionally worn by men (blue and white or black and white) instead of the ones traditional worn by men (which are multi-colored).

    Which of those “men” is supposed to be women?

  3. 3
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Butterggi wins.

    “[The Women of the Wall] are trying to hurt and offend other people’s sensitivities,” Rabinovitch told The Jerusalem Post a number of weeks ago.

    And arresting these women for expressing their faith in their way hurts and offends their sensitivities, but I guess that doesn’t matter. It’s odd how hurt sensitivities count the more orthodox or fundamentalist one is.

  4. 4
    Gretchen

    I do not think there is any more harmful aspect of religion than the enforcement of rigid gender roles– women must be and do one way, and men another, and there shall be no crossing over in either direction or else it constitutes a grave offense against God, humankind, and the universe. Religion didn’t invent this, but it place the authority of the creator of the universe behind it.

    There is no upside to this. There is only suffering.

  5. 5
    Raging Bee

    “Only democracy in the Middle East” my ass.

  6. 6
    jaxkayaker

    I believe that’s the sister of comedian Susan Silverman who was arrested.

  7. 7
    Marcus Ranum

    I listened to a segment about this on BBC, where they had a mix of interviewees including one of the women protesters. It was the usual stuff: intelligent, educated, people trying to dance around the idea that they want to preserve their god-granted patriarchy without having to come right out and say “because god wants it this way!” Lots and lots of appeal to tradition. Because, you know, tradition never changes.

  8. 8
    atheist

    “Israel is the only secular democracy in the Middle East” <- what contemptible horseshit.

  9. 9
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Jaxkayaker, nope – https://twitter.com/SarahKSilverman/status/300912805937299456

    Though it helps me to think of rabbis, priests, pastors, etc. as comedians.

  10. 10
    jaxkayaker

    Tabby, how is that a no? That does seem to be Sarah Silverman’s sister Susan according to the tweet you linked to yourself.

  11. 11
    slc1

    Re Raging Bee @ #5

    Mr. Bee, the Arab lover and two fisted Israel basher responds as expected. There is no doubt that the fuckken Jewish born agains have too much power in Israel but, compared to their neighbors (in the Gaza Strip perchance), they are paragons. A woman appearing in public in the Gaza Strip who appears without a burka risks being murdered, a far cry from being arrested.

  12. 12
    slc1

    Re atheist @ #8

    Israel is a hell of a lot more secular then its neighbors.

  13. 13
    Gregory in Seattle

    @slc1 #12 – Being “more secular” than its neighbors is a very, very far cry from actually being secular. Being less evil does not make one good.

  14. 14
    coryat

    S1c1: using Arab lover as an insult is as crass as calling someone a Jew lover or ni**er lover. If that wasn’t your intention, i suggest you phrase things more carefully.

  15. 15
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Jaxkayaker, from the original post…
    including the sister of American comedian Sarah Silverman.

    Police detained Israeli- American Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman
    Then you seemed to be correcting that when you wrote..

    I believe that’s the sister of comedian Susan Silverman who was arrested.

    That’s what I said nope to.

  16. 16
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Damn it! I thought I closed the first blockquote.

  17. 17
    slc1

    Re coryat @ #14

    Hey, I’m a crass person.

  18. 18
    slc1

    It should be noted that Sarah Silverman is a Reform Rabbi and is thus not recognized as a rabbi in Israel, yet more evidence of the intolerable influence of the fuckken born again Jews there.

  19. 19
    baal

    Cthulhu would make an awesome pokemon. Only problem is that after winning every poke-battle in the tournament simultaneously, half the planet would be driven mad and the other half would envy them.

    “And the government continues to support them and enforce their dictates” Secular laws of general applicability between countries tends to converge – mostly that’s a question of what works to have a stable and sane society. Religious law, on the other hand, tend to be rife with favors and perks for in-groups (including classifying people as less than equal so you get to abuse them) and don’t lead to maximal human flourishing.

  20. 20
    slc1

    Re slc1 @ #11

    As an example, Knesset member Hanin Zoabi would never think of appearing in the Gaza Strip dressed as she is during Knesset sessions. Doesn’t stop here from biting the hand that feeds her.

  21. 21
    Modusoperandi

    The hubris of you people! You’re all “Ooo! Look at me! I’m standing in opposition to God!”, instead of bowing down in humility in front of the LORD, as the women on the other side of the room (separated from you by a mechitza*) bow down a little deeper.
    Look, if God wanted them to pray there, He would’ve made them men.
     
    * Also a delicious, spicy Mexican entre. True story

  22. 22
    raven

    This seems to be some sort of intra-Jewish sectarian conflict. Very traditional.

    The Rabbis in Israel are dominated by Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox and don’t like the Reforms and hate the Messianics.

    myjewishlife . com:

    Reform and Conservative leaders believe that the liberal movements could grow in numbers and influence, but that Israel’s Rabbinate–an Orthodox institution that controls nearly all religious matters in the state–significantly curtails their activities.

    The Reformeds are the largest Jewish group in the USA with 700,000 members. They seem to be persecuted or ignored in Israel.

  23. 23
    Sastra

    No, they’re trying to achieve equality.

    Yeah, because it’s time to inject a little fairness into the theological game of Calvinball.

    Feminism in religion always leaves me divided. On the one hand … well, feminism. Equality, tolerance, self-determination, freedom, and so forth and so on. But on the other hand … religion. Skyhooks and revelations and truths which may not be questioned and the Great Chain of Being with everything and everyone in their designated place fulfilling their designated role in a morally-structured universe which saw them coming and wanted to teach them submission, gratitude, and above all humility.

    I have trouble seeing the point. Why, yes indeed, women should be just as free as men to fully participate in a system which scorns the material world and grovels like insignificant worms before the might and glory of God. They, too, are made in His image. Why not? Prove otherwise. Prove any of it. Can’t.

    Yeah, I guess. It cashes out positively in this world, if you’re not too particular in what’s positive or not.

  24. 24
    composer99

    I’m shocked – shocked, I tell you! – that no one in the comments linked to this topical video.

    Are there any women in the crowd, indeed.

  25. 25
    tbp1

    @23: I’m totally with you. Why in the world a woman would WANT to be a rabbi, or a priest, for example, is totally beyond my comprehension. It’s exactly like a black person aspiring to be a KKK grand dragon.

  26. 26
    Raging Bee

    And as usual, the StupidLikudnikChickenhawk1 responds as expected.

    So…how much worse does Israel have to get before the “better than their neighbors” excuse doesn’t work anymore? It kinda sounds like the “look at all the good things they do” excuse we hear from some Catholics…

  27. 27
    Forbidden Snowflake

    As an example, Knesset member Hanin Zoabi would never think of appearing in the Gaza Strip dressed as she is during Knesset sessions. Doesn’t stop here from biting the hand that feeds her.

    Translation: “How dare she criticize the well-documented systemic discrimination of Arabs in Israel? She should be thankful she hasn’t been attacked with acid!”
    You’re a crass person, indeed.

  28. 28
    laurentweppe

    “Only democracy in the Middle East” my ass.

    Well, if you ignore the 5 million of Palestinians who do not have the right to vote, the third-class-citizenship enforced toward Arab-Israeli, the second-class-citizenship granted to most of the dark-skinned sephardi, mizrahi and ethiopian Jews, and the heckler veto given to far-right vigilantes, theocrats and -until very recently- soccer hooligans, it’s pretty much a democracy. You know, like the US before the Civil Rights Act.

    ***

    There is no doubt that the fuckken Jewish born agains have too much power in Israel but, compared to their neighbors (in the Gaza Strip perchance), they are paragons

    And why is the Hamas in power in Gaza remind me?
    Oh yes, I remember, because they won the elections
    and why did they won the elections?
    Because the collapse of the Peace Process destroyed the Fatah credibility
    And why did the Peace Process fail?
    Because the Settler lobby and its lackey decided that it had to fail.

    ***

    S1c1: using Arab lover as an insult is as crass as calling someone a Jew lover or ni**er lover. If that wasn’t your intention, i suggest you phrase things more carefully.

    No it was intentional: SLC’s shtick is that the only thing he loves more that watching Arabs getting killed is pretending that his murderous fetish is merely him being “pro-Israel”: get used to it.

  29. 29
    Deborah

    See, I have a solution for this problem. It popped up on my Facebook wall today. The women praying at the wall with men’s scarves are spiritually men. Naturally. Because they are doing men’s stuff, like being pastors (or rabbis), they are therefore spiritually men, and should pray as men do rather than as women do.

    Yes someone actually said this, though he was talking about how he thought he himself was spiritually a woman and should cover as women do.

  30. 30
    slc1

    Re laurentweppe @ #28

    1. As usual, Mr. weppe is full of shit. The reason that Hamas is in power in the Gaza Strip is because the morons in the Fatah movement ran multiple candidates in most of the districts and Hamas ran 1. Thus, the Hamas terrorists won with a plurality of the vote in those districts but less then 50%. Just for the information of Mr. weppe, 1/2 the seats in the Palestinian Parliament are awarded at large by party lists, as in Israel while the other 1/2 are awarded by districts, as in the US House of Representatives. Had the Fatah morons run 1 candidate in each district, they would command a majority (it is my information that Fatah won more then 1/2 the vote for the at large seats).

    2. Further, the Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are not Israeli citizens and hence can’t vote in Israel. There are in excess of 1 million Arabs in Israel, who can vote and there are some 11 Arab MKs, including Ms. Zoabi.

    3. Gee, Mr. weppe accuses me of liking to watch Arabs being killed (by the way, their fellow Arabs are a lot more efficient in this regard then the Israelis). I haven’t noticed him writing about the ongoing slaughter in Syria, which I have mentioned on numerous occasions on this blog (which, by the way, will get worse if and when the Assad kleptocracy is ousted, unless the West makes provisions to send in a peacekeeping force to restore order).

  31. 31
    dingojack

    SLC -a) huh?
    “1/2 the seats in the Palestinian Parliament are awarded at large by party lists, as in Israel while the other 1/2 are awarded by districts, as in the US House of Representatives.”
    So half of the seats would be divided up by the number votes cast for each party overall (ie. Fatah would get a little over a quarter, Hamas a little under a quarter) and the rest would be divided by which candidate got the most votes in each specific seat (most likely this count would be gerrymandered to favour the incumbent party, that is Fatah). Fatah fielded multiple candidates in the critical seats and so shot themselves in the foot; Hamas used better tactics than Fatah, and so won.
    And this is the fault of Hamas, how exactly? Didn’t each party know the rules about how the seats would be allocated before the election? If the election was unfair which part was unfair exactly? If the non-incumbent party won government by means of democracy, they won democratically. (And this is a bad thing how exactly?)
    Dingo
    ——–
    c) Gee SLC I noticed you haven’t mentioned prisoner X so therefore your whole argument is deficient (Blanket invalidation by claiming an irrelevant fact is excluded is a fallacy).

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