Women of the Wall (WOW) Chairman Anat Hoffman filed a complaint this morning with the police about leaflets distributed at the Western Wall which they claim incite against them. The flyers were distributed during Rosh Hodesh prayers to passers-by at the Western Wall plaza.
The fliers were also posted on walls and columns in the women's section, contrary to the regulations .
WOW says that despite the Supreme Court demand to allow WOW to pray without interruption, dozens of WOW operatives were delayed at the entrances for up to one and a half hours.
The 100 women who managed to enter and participate in the prayer found themselves facing a fenced-in area. They refused to begin prayer until the guards agreed to extend it.
During the service, Bat Mitzvah celebrations were celebrated by Amalia Kariv, the daughter of Gilad Kariv, the director of the Reform Movement in Israel. Amalia read the new month Torah reading from parchment prepared especially by a female scribe.
Women are permitted to read the Torah in an all women's group if they do not recite the blessings before and after reading which invoke God's name, as halakha allows only those commanded to read to say them. Whether the women recited the blessings or not is unclear. However, the Western Wall has its own more stringent conditions for prayer, which do not allow women's Torah readings. WOW do not respect that and other longstanding traditions at the Wall, although Jews who moved to Israel from all corners of the globe with radically varying customs all accepted the rules at the holy site. .
WOW member Rachel Cohen Yeshurun was ordered by security guards at the entrance to the Western Wall to remove her head coverinf as part of the security check. The security guards claimed that they were following instructions and did not allow her to enter until she removed the head cover and proved to them she was not carrying a Torah scroll on her head. WOW have smuggled in Torah scrolls in the past, despite rules forbidding the use of Torahs brought from the outside.
Hoffman complained: "In light of the court's demand to protect us during prayer, the police decided to reduce the enclosure by two-thirds and move us to a distant corner. The solution to violence, according to the Israel Police, is to restrict the Women of the Wall and their right to prayer instead of arresting the thugs."