Wednesday, November 02, 2016

In Israel, Egalitarian Protesters Confront Western Wall Authorities

In Israel today, the conflict between ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups and egalitarian streams of Judaism led to physical clashes at the Western Wall.  Haaretz reports that leaders of the Conservative and Reform movements as well as Women of the Wall broke through security guards and carried Torah scrolls to the Wall in protest of the government's continuing failure to follow through on an agreement to create a separate egalitarian prayer space at the Wall. The group had obtained a permit from police for the demonstration; however the Western Wall Heritage Foundation that controls the area was not informed of this.  Young ultra-Orthodox boys confronted the group with scuffles breaking out. In a statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu's office criticized the protest saying: "unilateral breaches of the status quo in the Kotel harm our attempts to reach a compromise."  But a spokesperson for the protesters said that waiting has yielded no results.