Jerusalem's district court says women's arrests were unlawful
Israeli security forces unlawfully arrested five women at a Jerusalem holy site, a court has ruled.
The ruling comes after five women were arrested on April 11 for trying to worship at the Western Wall.
The five women are part of a group which is trying to overturn a 2003 High Court ban on women performing religious rituals at the Wall, which Orthodox Jews say only men can do.
For several months the group of women have worn traditional shawls while reading aloud from the Torah, sparking outrage from Orthodox groups.
Earlier this month five of them were arrested and charged with disturbing the peace. The charges were dismissed by a lower court who freed the women, but the police appealed against this decision.
However, Judge Moshe Sobel of Jerusalem’s disctrict court rejected the appeal, saying that the 2003 ruling ‘did not ban the Women of the Wall from praying in any particular place’, according to the Haaretz news agency report.
He added the women had not shown any signs of being violent or a threat to security, so they were not disturbing the peace.
Anat Hoffman, the chair of the women’s group, said the ruling had ‘liberated the Western Wall for all Jewish people’.
‘We did it for the great diversity of Jews in the world, all of whom deserve to pray according to their belief and custom at the Western Wall,’ she told Haaretz.