Beginning back in 1988, the Women of the Wall (נשות הכותל) organization’s members and supporters have been arriving at the Kosel every rosh chodesh, wrapping themselves in taleisim, some wearing tefilin, trying to hold a minyan and reading from a Sefer Torah. The monthly event results in arrests, yet they continue in the hope of overturning court rulings and creating new facts on the ground for women at the Kosel. Even the High Court of Justice failed to show sympathy for their demands, opting to rule in favor of the religious status quo at the Kosel.
There have been rumors over recent months that the organization is making headway as it continues seeking to exert pressure on officials in the Prime Minister’s Office. HaMevaser reports that while “they deny it in official statements” it is now clear that the organization is advancing its agenda and it appears that it is only a matter of time until the Prime Minister’s Office uses its political might to assist them in advancing their agenda.
HaMevaser reports that a December 25, 2012 New York Times article Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has turned to Jewish Agency for Israel Chairman Natan Sharansky, to find a way to make the Kosel “more accommodating to all Jews.” The report speaks of the organization’s ongoing struggle, which began over two decades ago, seeking “to pray at the Western Wall with ritual garments in defiance of Israeli law”.
“The prime minister thinks the Western Wall has to be a site that expresses the unity of the Jewish people, both inside Israel and outside the state of Israel,” Ron Dermer, Mr. Netanyahu’s senior adviser, said in an interview on Tuesday. “He wants to preserve the unity of world Jewry. This is an important component of Israel’s strength,” the Times reports.
Women of the Wall Chairwoman Anat Hoffman is quoted as saying “It’s a good thing that after 24 years the highest echelons in Israel are actually paying attention to this rift that is breaking Diaspora Jews from Israel,” she said. “The table that should run the Western Wall should have everyone who has an interest in the wall sitting around it.”
HaMevaser quotes Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rav of the Kosel and Holy Sites as saying “Yes, there is pressure from around the world to change the arrangement at the Kosel and davening arrangements. I will stand firm in my opposition to such changes.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)