August 4, 2013
This coming Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 7AM Women of the Wall will gather for the monthly prayer service at the Western Wall. This month, Women of the Wall will pray and blow shofar, as is customary on the first of the Jewish month of Elul, preceding the High Holidays. On August 7th, Women of the Wall will gather in the women’s section of the holy site and sound of the shofar in the name of justice for women and an end to the state-tolerated bullying at the Western Wall.
Last month, police held Women of the Wall enclosed in an area far from the Kotel, next to the bathrooms, for the duration of the prayer. During this time, police allowed men and women to protest with signs, whistles (both illegal at the Kotel) and verbally assault the women who prayed. One year ago, on Rosh Hodesh Elul 2012, as Women of the Wall chair Anat Hoffman went to blow shofar, a police officer took the Jewish traditional ram’s horn from her lips, denying the women of the right to hear the call of the shofar. In April 2013 a Jerusalem District Court judgment guaranteed all women the right to free prayer at the Western Wall. This decision was supported by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Tzippi Livni. Despite this important court decision, women are refused access to a Torah scroll in the women’ section of the Kotel, still today.
When ultra-Orthodox men and women yell, curse, spit, hit and throw eggs at Women of the Wall and their supporters, this is bullying.
Police stand by as men and women yell, curse, spit, hit and throw eggs at Women of the Wall. This is nothing less than an accomplice to bullying, an acceptance and allowance of assault, humiliation and abuse.
On the internet, there are groups and individuals whose rhetoric and communication seeks to intimidate, control, manipulate, falsely discredit, and humiliate Women of the Wall. This is the definition of cyber bullying.
Hoffman said, “We call on the police to prevent the disturbance of the peace at the Western Wall, to bring an end violent protests and bullying. We call on Jews around the world to stand up and make their voices heard, against the continued injustice at the Kotel.”
Those who protest Women of the Wall, as well as police, who turn a blind eye to their abuses, emulate a truly frightening reality in Israel: Violence amongst teens and adults is at an all time high. Bullying and cyber-bullying lead to depression and suicide of victims. We must stand up against this phenomenon by demanding a change in the public sphere.
Join us at the Western Wall at 7AM on August 7th, 2013
For nearly twenty-five years Women of the Wall has continued to fight for religious freedom and women’s rights at the Western Wall. As Women of the Wall, our central mission is to achieve the social and legal recognition of our right, as women, to wear prayer shawls, pray, and read from the Torah collectively and out loud at the Western Wall.