Sunday, March 17, 2013

Women Between A Wall and a High Place

From Gonen Ginat's op-ed:

Banging their heads against the Wall                                                           

When the city of Jerusalem decided to operate its Karta parking lot on Shabbat, the ultra-Orthodox warned, "Jerusalem will burn," and "we will make the whole country shake" and "we will run the secular Jerusalemites out of the city." But Mayor Nir Barkat didn't give in. Ever since then, the Karta parking lot opens every Shabbat. 

These threats were also heard when a high-tech plant in Har Hotzvim (an industrial park located in northwest Jerusalem) started working on Shabbat. It, too, is still intact, and still working every Shabbat.
So this reputation that the haredim have — that they win every battle they enter — is simply unfounded. The truth is that they lose battle after battle. was important to allow every Israeli to visit the capital city, even on Shabbat.
This should have been the dominant consideration in the context of the Women of the Wall as well...the clashes that surrounded the women's monthly visit to the Wall were completely unnecessary. Let them come as often as they wish. Let them feel at home.

The problem with the Women of the Wall is completely different. Once upon a time, they petitioned the High Court of Justice to permit them to pray at the Wall legally. The judges provided a ruling, dictating who would pray, where and how...But the women insist on praying in the area where the court ruled to uphold the old order. That is when the police step in.

...Is it just an oversight that all the countless reports of clashes surrounding the Women of the Wall neglect to mention that they are in fact violating a High Court ruling? Could it be that this piece of information is habitually omitted because if the entire truth was reported, the Women of the Wall would be portrayed as what they actually are — law breakers? Disrespectful of the court? Is it because they simply won't appear as enlightened anymore?...Do they expect the Israel Police to disregard a High Court ruling? Because if they do, they should say so explicitly.
And here is where we arrive at the real question: What do we do when we realize that the law-abiding citizens are actually the ones with the kippot and the beards, and the ones intentionally trying to break the law are the liberal camp (or women in this case)?
...The debate over the freedom to pray at a holy site has also cropped up again recently a few feet from the Western Wall, at the Temple Mount. There, it is actually the police who violate the High Court ruling that permits Jews to pray at the site. Police prevent Jews who are mumbling verses or whispering from entering the compound. The police have an excuse: When Jews pray on Temple Mount it could spark riots.
That's an interesting explanation. But under the same logic, the Women of the Wall shouldn't even be permitted in the vicinity of the Western Wall, because it could prompt the haredim to riot. But still, there is one major difference: The Women of the Wall are violating a court ruling, while Jews who want to pray on the Temple Mount are actually the ones abiding by the law...


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I call them the Ladies of the Wail.