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Friday, April 26, 2013 

Women of the Wall win a legal battle

Something that could help alter the status of the Western Wall back to how it usually was when they first began in 1988:
A court handed the Women of the Wall a significant legal victory in a decision released Thursday, ruling that the state cannot arrest the women for their activities at the holy site.

If not reversed by a higher court, the decision could mark a shift in the status quo at the Western Wall and a turning point in the liberal group’s fight to pray there as it wishes.

The decision, written by Judge Moshe Sobel of the Jerusalem District Court, was a defeat for the state prosecutor and the police, who arrested five of the women on April 11 and charged them with disturbing the peace.

A lower court judge ruled later the same day that there was no legal basis for the arrests and freed all five. Police appealed Wednesday to the Jerusalem District Court in an attempt to overturn the ruling, but instead Sobel upheld it — a decision that could force a revision of policy at the Western Wall.

[...] Sobel ruled that the police’s fear that the women’s actions could spark disturbances by others did not mean they could be arrested.

“The fear of creating such disturbances, without a claim that any of the defendants used any kind of violence, physical or verbal, does not constitute a reasonable basis for the fear that the defendants are those who threaten public security or the security of any person in the Western Wall plaza,” he wrote.
What's the prosecutor and police's problem anyway? Do they really have such a low opinion of free speech that they just have to go through with this? There's much worse things they could be dealing with, like jihadism, and this is what they care about? I may not have a high opinion of Reform Judaism itself based on the political positions. But as I've said before, the prayer customs in themselves are far from the biggest problem with them, and if this continues, it can give a bad image to Orthodox Judaism. The message should be that a public/national symbol like the Western Wall cannot be hogged by just one group, and that also goes for Reform, if it matters.

Israel National News isn't helping by calling the WoW "provocation-causing", and I'd be mad as hell if I found them calling any of my relatives who adhered to Conservative Judaism something like that. Though they do mention that:
MK Aliza Lavie (Yesh Atid), who heads the Knesset's Committee for Advancement of Women's Status, reacted to the ruling and said, "All along the way, I said that the court's rulings must be obeyed. The ruling handed down today means that there has been unwarranted cruelty toward the Kotel Women as they prayed, for years."

"Let me make clear – this is not a halakhic issue at all but a legal one, and in view of the new ruling, the Israel Police must refrain from arrests," she claimed.
And any Haredis who resort to obscenities that only translate as saying "I hate you and you're a POS" to anyone who's neither Haredi nor Orthodox aren't helping one bit. Funny how some technically secular sources have agreed that the Haredis be their masters; that's my perception anyway.

INN may want to consider that if they oppose the WoW, they might well be jeopardizing the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. Some of their past reports on Reform Judaism weren't specific enough, and if they really have a problem with them, make the beefs clearer, for heaven's sake.

Here's another report on the LA Jewish Journal, and on Israel HaYom.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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