A dozen women attempting to conduct monthly Rosh Hodesh services Wednesday at the Western Wall were dragged away, one by one, by female security guards.
The trouble started immediately after the group, which calls itself Women of the Wall, arrived at the Kotel, where 15 security guards hired by the Religious Affairs Ministry were stationed.
According to Bonna Haberman, a member of the group, the guards encircled the women even before they started praying. “They pulled us and pushed us so hard that finally we were all on the floor,” Haberman said.
Ultra-Orthodox women praying individually at the Wall, who oppose women conducting prayer services, threw water and mud at the group. Haberman said afterward she looked as if she had been in a mud fight.
Reached at her home Wednesday afternoon, Haberman, a recent Canadian emigrant, expressed her horror at what happened. She said she was covered with cuts and bruises.
“We kept our calm all the time, and stayed absolutely passive through the horrible scenes,” she said. She claimed that Rabbi Meir Yehuda Getz, who is religious trustee of the Wall, “looked on at what was going on with pride.”
She also said that this latest incident has not deterred the women, but rather made them more determined than ever to ensure that their rights are upheld.
Women are allowed to pray at the Wall, but they must do so individually. Men, on the other hand, organize minyanim for prayer, as they would in a synagogue, wear prayer shawls and carry the Torah.
Women of the Wall contend there is no halachic ban on their doing the same.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.