Friday, April 26, 2013

Israeli Court Vindicates "Women of The Wall" Prayer Activities

In Israel yesterday, a Jerusalem District Court, affirming an earlier Magistrate Court's decision, held that police should not have arrested members of "Women of the Wall" for praying at the Western Wall wearing prayer shawls that, in Orthodox Jewish tradition, are only worn by men. (See prior posting.) The Jerusalem Post reports on the court's decision.  The 1981 Regulations for the Protection of Holy Places to the Jews bar performing religious ceremonies at the Western Wall  that are "not according to local custom" or that "may hurt the feelings of the worshipers."  Judge Moshe Sobell, however, citing a 1994 opinion by Israeli Supreme Court Justice Shlomo Levin, ruled yesterday that "local custom" does not necessarily mean Orthodox Jewish practice. As to public disturbance charges, Sobell ruled that Women of the Wall were not suspected of violent or verbal behavior that would disturb the peace or endanger the public.