Thursday, January 7, 2010

Video - Anat Hoffman interviewed about her arrest by JTA news

I wanted to share this additional piece after last night's blog, which was brought to my attention via a tweet from @religion_state who provide a really invaluable resource on all Religion-State issues in Israel via their blog (which I have now added to our blogroll on the list in the right column).

JTA news posted a video interview with Anat Hoffman after her arrest.  Please take a look at it here:

What can you do?  Call to Action from Women of the Wall

Batya Betsy Kallus sent a message to the members of Women of the Wall Nashot HaKotel. (You can join this group on Facebook for continued updates)

Subject: Protest letter following interrogration of WOW chairperson Anat Hoffman: circulate and send onl

Dear Facebook supporters of WOW,
As you can see from the posting to the site today, Anat Hoffman, the chairperson of WOW was detained and interrogated today, and threatened with a felony offence for praying with a tallit at the Kotel. This appalling and disgraceful action must be protested in every possible way. Thanks to International Committee of WOW member Shulamit Magnus, below is a draft protest letter that can be sent to ambassadors, diplomats, politicians, etc. Please feel free to amend, revise, and change but please send it onward to whomever you think should receive it, and please, send a copy to the Facebook page or to

Thank you for your support and commitment to the right of Jewish women to pray at the Kotel in our own voices.
Batya Kallus
Women of the Wall

This particular letter was written to Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to USA.
To: info@washington.;; dpaofficer@washington.;
Subject: For Ambassador Oren URGENT

Dear Ambassador Oren,

I read with shock and disbelief that Anat Hoffman, a founding member of the
Women of the Wall, past member of the Jerusalem City Council and participant in many efforts to improve civil and consumers' rights in Israel, was detained by the Jerusalem police, interrogated, finger-printed, and threatened with prosecution for felony for her leadership role in the Women of the Wall.

This is a terribly shocking new chapter in the sad history of this affair.
At stake is Israel's very character as a democratic state that respects
human rights, including freedom of expression and worship, and abjures
discrimination on the basis of gender in its founding Declaration of
Independence. The State and Municipality of Jerusalem have proceeded down a very ominous, regrettable path in this gratuitous escalation, which if
allowed to proceed, will do terrible damage to the fabric of Israeli
democracy and to its reputation abroad.

The Women of the Wall are an independent group of religious women from all
walks of Jewish life who seek the opportunity of women's group prayer at the
Western Wall, with talit and sefer torah; that is, Jewish prayer, as is
practiced day and night at that site, 24/7.

Can anyone in their right mind begin to comprehend why pursuit of these
goals would constitute a FELONY? Have the Municipality of Jerusalem and the State of Israel no more important issues to pursue than the suppression of this group; no more dangerous individuals to pursue than a group of mothers and grandmothers seeking to pray at Judaism's holiest site? Are women at prayer to be prosecuted as felons while thugs who attack them physically and verbally, including with threats of violence and antisemitic defamation, to be coddled; the holiest site to all Jews left to their vigilante actions?

We ask you to convey to the Government of Israel our strongest protest against these absurd and dangerous actions.

Yours truly,

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