Riot police were out in full force Friday at the Western Wall trying to contain ultra-Orthodox demonstrators attempting to break through barricades to approach Women of the Wall supporters and activists holding their monthly prayer service in the women’s section.It makes no difference whether it was at the Western Wall plaza proper or even at the gateway, what they did was a Chillul Hashem. What if any of that crap they threw in their tantrum hit the stones the walls are built of and damaged them? They'd be guilty of desecrating historical sites, both the prayer plaza and the city itself.
Three people were arrested and two police officers were injured in the protests, in which demonstrators at several points threw water bottles and chairs in the direction of the women’s section, while calling the police “Nazis” and shouting at them “Go back to Germany.”
Police formed a human barricade to hold back the protesters when the women exited the prayer plaza after they had concluded their service. After they had passed through Dung Gate, a group of ultra-Orthodox protesters began throwing rocks in their direction. They continued to throw rocks at buses that delivered the women away from the violent protests.
Some Haredi schoolgirls came to the Western Wall, and while many of them at the women's section wisely refrained from clashing, they did say something interesting:
Several young seminary girls questioned by Haaretz said that they had come to the Western Wall because they were told to do so. One young woman, named Rachel, who refused to provide her last name or the name of her seminary, said she had come to protest women praying in the men’s section. Women of the Wall, however, do not pray in the men’s section, but in the women’s section.On the one hand, we seem to have a case of failure to think for themselves, depending on one's POV. On the other, we have quite an idiot telling them why she came, assuming that's accurate (I'm not blind to Haaretz's leftism).
Rabbi Aaron Frank, the principal of Beth Tefiloh, a modern Orthodox day school in Baltimore, said he had just “come to daven” at the Western Wall with a few of his students. But when a group of ultra-Orthodox noticed him being interviewed by a foreign TV crew, they began shouting in his direction: “You are a Reform Christian. You are a Muslim. You are the pope.”Well thank goodness she recognizes how destructive their attitude is! I've checked out various other reports, and if there's anything they seem to be right about, it's that pretty much ALL the demonstrators sans rationale were Haredi.
“For me, what they are doing is a desecration of God’s name, and I believe that 90 percent of Orthodox Jews would see this as a desecration,” he said. “This is a very sad day for the Jewish people, but for me it’s very important that people see that not all Orthodox men are like this.”
Ronit Peskin, an ultra-Orthodox women and the director of a brand new organization called Women for the Wall, which opposes Women of the Wall, credited her own organization with the massive turnout of ultra-Orthodox women this morning. “We were the ones who got the rabbis to do this,” she claimed.
She said, however, that she and her cohorts had not asked ultra-Orthodox men to show up in force and were disappointed with their behavior.
In other words, the average follower of Orthodox Judaism, even if they disagree with Reform Judaism, recognizes that going ape over mere prayer service is a fool's act. To some extent, this also can describe some Haredis. But the more insular the sect, it's clear they're the ones who cannot distinguish between constructive dissent and violent tempers.
Lynn Nadeau, a 72-year-old from Marblehead, Mass., was visiting the wall this morning on her first trip ever to Israel. “I think the men should be kept away,” she said, “because their anger is so strong and frightening. Women, however, can talk to other women even if they disagree.”Depending on their MO, yes, in a way they have. When they grow up in a society that's all but a vacuum, that can be the result.
“I’m used to a pluralistic society where the chief rabbi doesn’t tell everyone how to live their lives,” she added. “It looks to me that all these ultra-Orthodox girls here have been manipulated.”
Because of the influence some Haredi rabbis apparently had over the Haredis who rioted at the Old City, there's now Conservative and Reform leaders petitioning the attorney-general to investigate:
The heads of the Reform and Conservative movements will demand that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein investigate the involvement of rabbis on the government payroll in Friday’s violent demonstrations at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. [...]Well he did suggest there'd be a "war between brothers", and if this is how they're going to react, then he has some responsibility to bear here for causing so much of a disturbance that any tourists and foreign reporters visiting the spot are bound to come away with a very bad aftertaste. Alas, neither Rabinovitch nor many of the other Haredi moonbats are likely to care that they do the Western Wall and the Temple Mount more harm than good with their antics.
The demonstrators jeered at the women as they prayed, some throwing water bottles and chairs in their direction. Dozens of riot police were on hand to separate them from the women’s prayer group and they grew increasingly violent. After the women exited Dung Gate, ultra-Orthodox demonstrators ambushed them with rocks.
“I think it is very clear today who came to worship and who came to create provocations,” Gilad Kariv, the executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, told Haaretz. “The troubling aspect of it all is that the rabbi of the Western Wall and his team, all public officials, were deeply involved in organizing this Haredi protest. We intend to address the matter with the attorney general and have him investigate.”
Yizhar Hess, head of the Masorti-Conservative movement in Israel, said that Shmuel Rabinovitch, the Western Wall rabbi and government appointee, was playing both sides. “In the Knesset, he talks about his support for the Sharansky compromise, but outside, he undermines peace in Jerusalem, as he did today.”
Here's another report from YnetNews:
A mass brawl erupted at the site at around 6:30 am, during which garbage, water, coffee and various objects were flung at dozens of Women of the Wall and police forming a human barrier between the female group and the ultra-Orthodox. Three yeshiva students were detained during the clashes. Two police officers were injured lightly. [...]You know something's wrong when a Reform rabbi ends up making the saner argument.
Knesset members Miri Regev (Likud ) and Tamar Zandberg (Meretz ) arrived on the scene. Zandberg described the scenes as "tumultuous and exciting," saying those objecting to the female group's right to pray at the site have shown themselves to be seeking antagonism at any cost. [...]
Reform Movement CEO Rabbi Gilad Kariv, who also arrived at the site, said the leaders of the haredi public "desecrated the sanctity" of the Western Wall by calling on ultra-Orthodox to confront the Women of the Wall.
Women of the Wall's Catherine Leff, 17, whose father is a Conservative rabbi, said the events actually strengthened the group and encouraged the members to sing and pray even louder. She said that at some point the haredim began to spit at the women until police cleared them from the area. According to Leff, the bus which transported the Women of the Wall out of compound was pelted with huge stones, but no one was injured. [...]That comment is sickeningly reminiscent of how Islamofascists speak. What if God Forbid, somebody even got killed as a result of the rioting? What does it take to make them wake up, smell the coffee, and realize that WoW are hardly something to rage over?
Yaakov, a 21-year-old haredi, said, "What these women are doing is disgraceful and against the Torah. We will continue to fight them. A woman draped in a tallit (prayer shawl) is ridiculous. Jews do not act this way. I am willing to get arrested. Some things justify a violent reaction."