Women of the Wall – Being Attacked by ultra-Orthodox Protesters and Referred to as a “Provocation”?

Women of the Wall at the Western Wall on August 2, 2019 (Courtesy Women of the Wall)

Women of the Wall at the Western Wall on August 2, 2019 (Courtesy Women of the Wall)

Protesters, worshippers skirmish at Western Wall during female-led service

Head of Conservative movement says he was accosted by ultra-Orthodox, had his kippa and prayer shall trampled on

An ultra-Orthodox protester was arrested Friday after allegedly attacking the head of Conservative Judaism in Israel, as a monthly prayer service at the Western Wall by a women’s group was marred by scuffles and loud demonstrations.

Yizhar Hess said an ultra-Orthodox minor tore off his prayer shawl and snatched and threw his skullcap to the floor as he attended morning prayers Friday at the holy site in support of the monthly Women of the Wall service.

A female supporter of Women of the Wall said she was also attacked by ultra-Orthodox protesters.

Meanwhile an ultra-Orthodox woman said she was pushed by a supporter of Women of the Wall and had her head covering torn off, and the group was accused of having tried to spirit a Torah scroll into the site by hiding it in a bathroom the night before.

“A bunch of enraged Haredim surrounded me and started pushing, kicking and spitting — and tore my tallit off of me,” Hess told Hebrew-language media. “My kippa was thrown to the ground and trampled on along with the tallit.”

In March, Hess said the same thing happened to him during skirmishes at the holy site.

The confrontations came despite heavy police presence deployed to secure the prayer service. Police have attempted to crack down on violent protests by ultra-Orthodox that have in the past marred the female-led prayers, held on every first day of the Hebrew month.

In a statement, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which administers the site, said it condemned “the provocations by Women of the Wall every month and the sharp violence on the other side.”

The body also accused the group of hiding the Torah scroll in a bathroom, in contravention of Jewish tradition, which generally forbids holy objects from entering bathrooms

Women of the Wall denied hiding the Torah scroll in a bathroom, and said it had been subjected to “hatred and violence.”

“Thousands of young men and women opposed us with screaming, pushing, hitting and serious interruptions of our prayer,” the group wrote on Facebook.

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