Five women were arrested for protesting against rules forbidding women from wearing religious symbols at the holy site
Five women have been detained following a protest against rules forbidding women from wearing religious symbols at Jerusalem’s Western Wall.
At sunrise this morning, 120 women went to pray at the Wall – a Biblical Temple compound. The five women were arrested for wearing various religious items and colourful prayer shawls, traditionally worn only by Orthodox Jewish men.
Eye-witness Erica Chernofsky told the BBC that about 100 men heckled the group of women, and one set fire to one of the women’s prayer books. He was also detained.
The organization known as the Women of the Wall (WoW) say their aim is to be able to ‘wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall’. They have vowed to continue their prayer services every month until a compromise has been reached.
Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, has expressed hope that the site ‘will once again be a symbol of unity among the Jewish people and not one of discord and strife’.
The authorities are trying to solve the dispute, and according to Reuters, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will consider Sharansky’s proposal of a compromise, although it would risk upsetting the powerful ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, as well as Muslims who worship close to the Western Wall.