“Enormous efforts were made to make this event go smoothly and were met by the Women of the Wall not complying with security regulations,” the Western Wall Heritage Foundation stated.
About 40 activists from the Women of the Wall group arrived at the Kotel (Western Wall) plaza on Monday for the Rosh Chodesh (new month) prayers and, as always, clashed with thousands of orthodox worshippers at the holy site.
The group of activists left the area designated for them, breaking their commitment to President Isaac Herzog to refrain from clashes and thus violating public order.
Women of the Wall clashes with the Orthodox majority at the holy site on a monthly basis. While there is a designated area for egalitarian prayer, the activists demand to hold their sessions in the midst of the plaza used by the Orthodox majority.
The Chief Operating Officer of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, Idan Shimon, approached the Women of the Wall activists several times, reminding them of their agreement and noting that they were “igniting controversy at the Western Wall plaza.”
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation said that the group promised to return to their designated compound but did not do so, “with the aim of increasing friction in the plaza.” Furthermore, a group of students joined them and “constantly tried to get into the Orthodox group and caused a commotion.”
Two people, including a minor, were arrested in the clashes.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation “called on both sides” and underscored that the Kotel is “not the place to conduct political struggles. Keep the controversies away from the Western Wall plaza and preserve it as a sacred and unifying place.”
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation issued a second statement expressing sorrow over “the harsh and heated clash,” pointing to the Women of the Wall who “harmed the sanctity of the Western Wall” when its male activists entered the woman’s section, “and in the introduction of whistles by an Orthodox child, which also harmed sanctity the Western Wall.”
“Enormous efforts were made by the Foundation’s staff to make this event go smoothly and were met by the Women of the Wall not complying with security regulations,” it stated.
“This is a difficult event that must be condemned. Please preserve the sanctity of the Western Wall and keep it away from disgrace and demonstrations,” the Foundation asked.