The leader of Women of the Wall, a group of women who gather monthly to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, was questioned by police, fingerprinted, and told that she may be charged with a felony for violating the rules of conduct at what is considered Judaism’s most sacred site.
Anat Hoffman, director of the Israel Religious Action Center, said that police interrogated her for more than an hour on January 5 about her activities during Women of the Wall’s last monthly service in December. Speaking by phone from Jerusalem, Hoffman said she did nothing differently that day than she had for the 21 years of her group’s existence... (continue reading here)
Apparently the crime being investigated was the wearing of tallitot by some women while praying (something which some women do beneath their jackets in a way that is not visible to others). When the Supreme Court ruled a number of years ago that Women of the Wall must move to Robinson's Arch for their Torah service each Rosh Chodesh, they also ruled that women could not been seen wearing tallitot at the Kotel.
This police action is outrageous and quite clearly intended to intimidate the leadership of Women of the Wall. After the arrest of Nofrat Frankel there were calls for events around the world to demonstrate Jews standing in solidarity with Women of the Wall. At B'nai Israel our Rosh Chodesh group responded with and evening of study which led to 8 blogs in solidarity with Women of the Wall, published here at the end of December.
In light of this ongoing intimidation, we must voice our disgust at the treatment of these women and call for action to be taken to ensure that the Kotel - a holy site and heritage for all Jews - does not continue to be controlled in its use as an ultra-Orthodox synagogue.
Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz