Israeli police detained 10 women at one of Judaism’s most sacred sites on Monday for wearing prayer shawls, which Orthodox tradition sees as solely for men, a spokesman said.
The incident at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City highlighted the divisions between the more liberal streams of Judaism and politically powerful Orthodox groups that traditionally limit the role of women in prayer.
Also a graphic illustration of Israel’s fealty to theocracy.
The Western Wall is administered under strict Orthodox ritual law, which bars women from wearing prayer shawls or publicly reading from the holy scriptures.
Among those held was Susan Silverman, a reform rabbi who is a sister of U.S. comedian Sarah Silverman. Two other American citizens and Israeli members of “Women of the Wall”, a group that campaigns for gender equality in religious practice, were also detained.
The group routinely convenes for monthly prayer sessions at the Western Wall, revered by Jews as a perimeter wall of the Biblical Temple in Jerusalem. Some of its members have been detained by police in the past for wearing prayer shawls at the site and released without charge.
Susan Silverman…the rabbi said in a telephone interview from the police station where the group was held that they had been among more than 100 women attending the hour-long prayer session…
Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for national police, said the women had acted “against regulations set by the High Court”, citing a decision of a decade ago upholding Orthodox rules at the site to avoid friction between worshippers.
‘Nuff said. Avoiding friction by placing the most backwards sects in the nation in charge of law and order is all that can be expected from a court constituted to rubber stamp reactionary politics.