Women of the Wall provoked a confrontation at the Western Wall (Kotel) Wednesday, as it has been doing on every Rosh Hodesh, or first day of the Hebrew month.
Despite the fact that the Religions Ministry has set up a separate section for non-Orthodox prayer, a group of the women arrived at the Kotel plaza and insisted on praying in the Orthodox section, while wrapping themselves in tefillin and tallit – prayer accessories traditionally worn only by men.
Hareidim who were praying at the Wall used force to try and prevent the women from conducting their prayers in this way at the Wall, and were pushed back by Border Police. Some hareidim reportedly shouted “Nazis!” at the police.
The Rabbi of the Kotel, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovich, had asked both the Women of the Wall and the hareidim not to come to the Kotel Wednesday, in order to avoid harming the sanctity of the location. He asked both sides “to give a window of opportunity to finding a solution and creating a positive atmosphere.”
"Whoever wants a solution must take a step toward trust-building,” the rabbi added. “Whoever continues the struggle at this time is showing that his entire intent is to sabotage the contacts and re-ignite matters on the ground, in which case I do not know what point there is to everyone's efforts.”