MK Shafir at right
MK Shafir at right Meital Uri

Leftist female MKs donned prayer shawls Tuesday morning and joined the Women of the Wall for a prayer session at the Kotel. The MKs' presence prevented the arrest of the Women of the Wall by police.

MKs Stav Shafir (Labor), along with Tamar Zandberg and Michal Rozin (Meretz), joined the group, which regularly holds prayer sessions that challenge the traditional Jewish division of roles between the sexes, next to Judaism's most holy place.

The women who took part in Tuesday's prayer session numbered about 300, according to one report. They wore prayer shawls which are traditionally worn by men only, and gathered at the Women's Section of the Kotel Plaza, in contravention of a High Court order that they hold their prayers under Robinsons Arch, a few dozen meters away.

Women of the Wall also like to wear kippot and put on tefillin – in imitation of the traditions and halakhic instructions that pertain to men.

The Kotel Guard attempted to prevent the female MKs from entering the Kotel Plaza but was unsuccessful.

MKs Shafir, Zandberg and Rozin are not religious.

MK Shafir said, after the prayer session, "At first they tried to keep us from entering the Kotel Plaza and justified this by saying that we are a disturbance to the public peace, but there is nothing that a hundred women armed with tallits cannot do. Surrounded by policemen and policewomen, to the sound of the shouting by hareidi men and the shofar blasts on the other side of the fence [mechitza – ed.], we stood before the Kotel and prayed."