Friday, January 13, 2017

Supreme Court rules in favor of Women of the Wall

The Supreme Court issued a challenge to Israel’s status quo on religion and state, ordering administrators of the Western Wall to justify the ban on women from leading prayers at the holy site, as sought in a petition.

In accordance with Jewish tradition and historical precedent, there are separate prayer sections for women and men at the Western Wall.

As per tradition at the Wall, and in accordance with the custom of most worshippers at the holy site, women are not permitted to lead group prayers or read from Torah scrolls. A small group of left-wing activists, however, have been campaigning for the religious status quo at the Western Wall to be altered.

The Israeli Supreme Court's decision on the side of the activists who submitted the petition demanding the changes was issued on Wednesday.

The petition came after a dramatic but controversial agreement was reached last year to create a third space for alternative prayer groups at a part of the Western Wall not bordered by the Kotel plaza and which would be open to both women and men. It is located near historic Robinson's Arch, the remnant of a bridge that was used to enter the Temple Mount area in 2nd Temple times.

The Women of the Wall organization, which for years has agitated for an end to the status quo at the Wall, accepted the agreement.


  1. The final line of your post is a lie. The WoW did not accept the agreement. They immediately announced that they only want part of the main plaza. After all, if they went to Robinson's Arch their unending need to be the centre of attention and disrupt Orthodox prayer would be unmet.

  2. From their facebook page

    Women of the Wall Nashot HaKotel
    January 11 at 12:56pm ·
    Hallelujah! Our struggle is far from over but today we made real progress:
    Israel's Supreme Court has given the government until February 1 to give good cause explaining why a woman cannot read Torah at the Kotel.
    The Supreme Court also ordered the Western Wall rabbi to immediately cease and desist from all body searches of women entering the Kotel.
    Finally, the court determined, as we have long argued, that the current arrangement at Robinson's Arch does not provide adequate access to the Kotel.
    Anat Hoffman on today's Supreme Court decision:
    "I am elated because when I was looking for justice, and then courage, they were missing and now the highest court in the land has shown me both.
    Just when it seemed the rabbinate's power was overwhelming the Court's verdict regarding our demand to read Torah at women's section of the Western Wall reflects both courage and wisdom.
    Today, we have come much closer toward implementation of the Western Wall agreement on gender equality and religious freedom at the Wall."

  3. A few more victories like this and the Arabs will control the kosel.

  4. There are two WOW organizations. One is WOW which accepts the compromise agudah and shas agreed to, then backed out.

    The OWOW "original" WOW, led by the original founder, rejects even the comprise. THey broke off from the organization cause of this compromise. They are the petitioners in this case.


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