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      Kotel Rabbi: Women in Tallits 'Provocateurs'

      Rabbi Rabinovich: women who showed up at Kotel with men's prayer shawls and torah scrolls are 'provocateurs'.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 11/18/2009, 9:17 PM / Last Update: 11/18/2009, 8:59 PM

      Flash 90

      Police arrested a woman at the Kotel Wednesday morning after she wrapped herself in the prayer shawl (tallit) traditionally worn by Jewish men. The woman was one of a group of women who had come to pray the new month's prayer (Rosh Chodesh) in the women's section and intended to read from the Torah – another traditionally male role.

      Anat Hoffman, chairwoman of the Kotel Women, said that this was the first time that a woman was arrested in Israel for wrapping herself in a tallit and read from the Torah.

      The High Court ruled in the past that people coming to the Kotel plaza must dress in accordance with the tradition of the place.

      Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, Rabbi of the Kotel and Holy Sites, called the women's visit to the Kotel “a provocative act which turns the Kotel into a place of dispute, in contravention of High Court decisions,” adding that “there is no value to prayer of any kind if it involves dispute and acrimony and desecration of G-d's name and of the holiness of the Kotel.”    

      "This is an act of provocation,” he told Arutz Sheva, “and I am sorry to see that lately different bodies are trying to cause damage to the Kotel for political gain." The groups, he said, are interested in "honing their public messages and advancing their political world view. Using harsh news headlines, they seek to destabilize the delicate balance of the Kotel, [and] ignore the fact that the Kotel Plaza is a delicate and complex place, where modesty and patience are necessary to enable every man and woman to find their place.”