Religion Magazine

Women of the Wall, Supreme Court, Disturbing the Peace, Har HaBayit

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
I came across this interview from 2 months ago that Anat Hoffman gave to the BBC after having been detained at one of the Women of the Wall prayer sessions at the Kotel. Joining her in this interview are a couple of rabbis - one looks Orthodox, and the other is described as Masorati - which I assume means Conservative.

It does not really change much, as everyone really knows their intentions. The debate is whether their intentions, and specifically these intentions, are a reason to prevent them from doing what they do. Sure, it does not meet orthodox Jewish criteria, and we wish to retain our power and control, and our customs which we believe are correct should prevail, but objectively, they should have the right to serve God as they see proper.
But all that is old news. There is no real need rehash the same old arguments again and again. Let the WoW and their Haredi opponents bang their heads together and fight the same issues over and over again.

Women of the Wall, Supreme Court, Disturbing the peace, Har HaBayit

Judge Bavly

The newer issue is yesterday's detention of the Women of the Wall for their prayer services, and specifically what happened in court. The judge released the detainees. Judge Sharon Larry Bavly released the detainees saying that what they did was nothing but pray - they did not cause a provocation or disruption of public order. What they did was fine, and it was the people protesting against them that disturbed the peace and made the provocation.
Extrapolating from this decision, one can say that people praying on Har HaBayit, and I insist on connecting the two issues, are not the ones disturbing the peace, as the police claim and thereby detain people who dare to pray. The ones disturbing the peace, the ones provoking violence, are the Arabs who oppose Jewish prayer. And the police continue to allow the provokers free rein, and even assist them by giving their voice power and support.
This decision by Judge Bavly should be used to pressure the police to stop preventing Jews, as per the Israel Supreme Court decision, from praying on Har HaBayit. The only reason the police have the right to prevent Jews from praying is by making their own determination that the Jews are disturbing the peace and causing a violent response by the Arabs. According to Bavly's decision, the Jews should not be treated as the ones making the disturbance, but the Arabs should be. And if they continue to do so, they should be distanced from Temple Mount.
Another observation from the recent kerfuffle at the Kotel is one that has been noted by a number of people. The media, as are the courts, is very supportive of what the Women of the Wall are doing. They are supportive despite the fact that WoW is trying to change, whether rightfully or wrongfully does not matter right now, the common behavior and customs in a very sensitive situation, and they are doing so against a decision by the Supreme Court (which is why they keep getting detained).
What we have is a group of people being insensitive to the common behavior that is mandated by law, and breaking a Supreme Court decision in the process. And they keep gaining support from the media and even in the public eye. While the Haredim, who normally are not so hot to quote the Supreme Court, keep saying the Supreme Court has already decided on this. Things seem backward. Those who normally promote the rule of law and the Supreme Court are in this case supporting the opposite, while those who wish the Supreme Court would normally go away are in this case supporting it.
Another comparison is also behavioral. While the Haredi community gets criticized regularly for behavior that some define as protestive in nature, and at least is insensitive to the public sensitivities, such as when they do not stand still for memorial sirens, or have barbecues in the park on a sensitive day, yet when WoW engage in protestive behavior they draw not criticism from the media but support.
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