Daily Israel Report

Women of the Wall Snub New Prayer Area

Dozens of women gather at Western Wall to mark the new month of Cheshvan, avoid new prayer area recently opened.
By Adam Ross
First Publish: 10/4/2013, 9:40 AM

Women of the Wall
Women of the Wall
Flash 90

Dozens of members of the "Women of the Wall" organization arrived at the Kotel, (Western Wall) Friday morning to celebrate the new Hebrew month of Cheshvan.

The women did not pray at the non-denominational  "Israel Plaza" recently opened by Minister for Religious Affairs MK Naftali Bennett, (Jewish Home), but instead insistence on convening in the women's section of the Western Wall plaza, surrounded by familiar protests, shouts and police officers.

In contrast to previous months, Women of the Wall had not organized transportation to the Western Wall, with women arriving independently for 7:00 a.m. morning prayers.

Last night, Rabbi of the Western Wall Shmuel Rabinovitch, contacted the hareidi religious leadership asking that hareidi women not to stage counter prayers against the Women of the Wall.

Rabinovitch said in a message that despite Naftali Bennett opening a new designated prayer area near to Robinson's Arch, the women were still intending to gather in the main women's section, thus continuing the controversy at Judaism's holiest site.

Therefore, Rabbi Rabinovitch pleaded with the hareidi leadership to avoid a mass counter protest, "especially in light of the current heightened sensitivity on the Temple Mount and recommendations of the special committee of the Prime Minister’s Office, which are expected in the coming days,”

Rabinovitch was referring to recent attacks against Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount and increased police presence there.

A committee headed by Avichai Mandelblit the cabinet secretary has been studying options for non-Orthodox prayer at the Western Wall and is expected to publish its recommendations shortly.

Mirroring calls for haredi women to keep the peace at the Wall, yesterday police also turned to the leadership Women of the Wall to avoid a repeat of previous confrontations.

Rabbi Rabinovitch added that "the Wall is not only the heart of the Jewish people – it is also the face of the Jewish people to itself and to the world. When Jews fight at the Western Wall –there is no greater desecration of God's name."

He added: "We have to wait for the decision of the committee to find an arrangement that can restore a peace and brotherhood to the Western Wall."