[UPDATE BELOW] The Women of the Wall organization was present at the Kosel on Wednesday morning, as is its custom monthly to mark the event, rosh chodesh. One woman was arrested, Nofat Frankel, who identifies herself as a member of the Conservative Movement.
Frankel explains she was questioned by police for 30 minutes and released. She feels the time has come to implement change in our modern society, adding she regularly davens at home with a tallis, and there is no reason that she and her colleagues must be prevented from doing so at the Kosel. She insists that this is her right and responsibility as a torah observant Jew.
She explains that the 2003 Supreme Court ruling banning the women to Robinson’s Arch is not acceptable, insisting her presence is not an attempt at provocation, but simply her religious right and the right of the other women who wish to wear tallis and tefillin and daven to Hashem. She added that there are also “Orthodox communities” that permit women to wear a tallis today, questioning why this cannot be the case at the Kosel.
The women were wearing their talleisim under their jackets Frankel explained, who added, “At some point I was warm enough and removed my jacket,” leading to her arrest for the provocation.
Responding to this mornings incident was Rav Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rav of the Kosel, who told Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) that he simply does not believe Frankel when she says her intentions are “pure” and “not seeking to provoke an incident”, stating he believe quite the opposite is true, pointing out she felt the need to remove her outer garment. The rabbi explained that she is not genuine and it is all about making an issue.
The rav stated the women cause a chilul Hashem, and a chilul to the Kosel, comparing them to Korach and his followers. He explained the issue here is not even one of halacha, but the fact that a group is working to bring controversy to the Kosel, and this is simply unacceptable. The rav added that in the past two months, the women have been working tenaciously to bring their plight to the forefront of the political arena.
The Women of the Wall organization, which was founded in 1989, has maintained a determined battle to permit females to daven at the Kosel in tallis and/or tefillin, seeking the approval of the nation’s highest court over what they perceive as the “Orthodox rule over the Kosel” which denies them their basic religious rights.
In a recent motzei shabbos drasha, Rishon L’Tzion HaRav HaGon Ovadia Yosef Shlita called the women “fools with a tallis” as was reported by YWN-Israel.
UPDATED 13:45: Police moved in to make arrests after the women began efforts to read from a sefer torah, not at Robinson’s Arch, the designated area according to the Supreme Court, but in the regular women’s section of the Kosel, insisting that this was not only their right, but well within halacha, and there was no reason police should be involved in a simply prayer service.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)