Women of the Wall
Women of the WallHadas Parush/Flash90

The Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled on Wednesday that security guards may not search individuals for Torah scrolls and prevent them from entering the holy site with them.

The court ruled that according to the Authority Law, the guards only have the right to carry out inspections to ensure the site's security and may not overstep that authority. Therefore the guards may not search for Torah scrolls since they do not threaten the site's security, even though the Western Wall Heritage Foundation bans them in its code of conduct. According to the ruling, the Western Wall ushers may continue to enforce the site's code within its confines.

The issue of outside Torah scrolls at the Western Wall arises on a regular basis, as the controversial feminist Women of the Wall movement regularly attempts to enter the site with one to be read by women, an act that violates both the site's code and Jewish law. In May, guards at the entrance to the site caught a group of women from the movement attempting to smuggle in a Torah scroll and confiscate it. On Wednesday, the group managed to get past the guards with the scroll.

Following the court's decision, Women of the Wall chairperson Anat Hoffman stated: "This is huge news for anyone who holds religious freedom and woman's equality important. For the first time, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation can not enforce its extreme, biased, and exclusionary policy against women at the Western Wall, and won't search through the Women of the Walls belongings to find a Torah Scroll."

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation responded: "The Women of the Wall filed a personal lawsuit against the Western Wall's rabbi and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, a lawsuit that was summarily rejected. The court reflected the existing reality in accordance with the decision of the Supreme Court, in which the security guards provide security and ushers enforce regulations. The court ruled that the procedure of not allowing the entry of a Torah scroll is legal. The Women of the Wall turned their failure into a victory. It should be noted that the lawsuit by the Women of the Wall was filed about three years ago".