To Keep Women Out, Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Push for Western Wall Prayer Ban

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups are pushing back against a campaign by 'Women of the Wall.' (Photo: File)

Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Shas party is pushing for a law banning non-Orthodox prayer at Jerusalem’s Western Wall as tension over mixed-gender prayer at the site mounts. 

Israel Radio reported that the law, which was formally presented on Sunday, calls for imprisonment – or a 10,000-shekel (roughly $2,600) fine – for violating a proposed ban on mixed-gender prayer at the wall, along with tighter restrictions on women reading the Torah at the site. 

Current regulations prohibit worshipers from bringing their own Torah scrolls to the premises.

 Ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups are pushing back against a campaign by “Women of the Wall” – a pressure group that advocates for equal prayer rights for women — and other reformist organizations. 

In November, clashes erupted between the two sides when non-Orthodox rabbis tried to take their own Torah scrolls to the wall. Later, death threats were sent to a Reform synagogue in Jerusalem. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, meanwhile, has faced criticism from both sides after vacillating over a plan to build a mixed-gender prayer space at the flashpoint religious site.

Jerusalem’s Western Wall is considered the holiest prayer space for Jews, who believe it was once part of an ancient temple built by King Solomon. 

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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