Denying Others their Right to Pray


Jerusalem Residents Condemn Group for “Offensive” and “Disturbing” Conduct at Western Wall

Women For the Wall, the grassroots organization opposing the disturbance of prayers in the traditional Western Wall plaza, today released a collection of video clips featuring unscripted reactions by Jerusalem residents to the conduct of Women Of the Wall. Those interviewed were unanimous in their condemnation of what they characterized as inappropriate and disruptive conduct.

“Women Of the Wall tell the media that they simply wish to pray in their own fashion, and that they are advocating for the rights of women,” said Leah Zakh Aharoni, co-founder and chairperson of Women For the Wall. “But what we found was universal censure of their behavior as loud, unreasonable and ultimately boorish – especially from those women who are forced to stand near them if they wish to pray at the Wall.”

On the video, both women and men criticize the conduct of “Women Of the Wall” as disrespectful of the Sanctity of the Wall, hindering the prayers of others, and personally offensive. The most frequent criticism was for deliberately singing at high volume and making a disturbance. “They have to be sensitive to the people who like to pray traditionally at the Wall… and I understand there’s another place for them,” said one American woman now living in Israel. “I think they should try to be quieter, or go to their own shul,” said another. An American yeshiva student was visibly upset that Women of the Wall disrupted his prayers on the Yahrtzeit of his mother. “For my mother, who’s a lady!” he emphasized.

Many went further, questioning advocacy for change in that specific location. “It is extremely disturbing to me, and I would rather they have a place of their own, to do their own thing and not mingle with the people who feel uncomfortable around them,” commented one woman. A young Israeli woman was more direct: “This is not the place. You want to do this? Why at a place like this? What’s the point?” An Arab resident concurred: “This is a Holy Place to Muslims and Jews, and it’s unnecessary to detract from the sanctity of a Holy Place like this.”

Women of the Wall “makes a joke of it all” concluded an American immigrant to Israel.

“Standing on the steps down to the Wall and conducting random interviews, we couldn’t find even a single individual to defend the conduct of Women Of the Wall,” said Aharoni. “In America people may think they represent women, but every woman we talked to found their behavior disruptive and deliberately offensive.”

An elderly Israeli woman expressed her sentiments with obvious pain: “it’s too bad that such a Holy Place, shared and valued by all the Jewish People, should be turned into a point of contention by a few women who think they have to prove a point by creating a provocation.”

The video is available on the YouTube channel of W4W.

Women For the Wall is a grassroots organization of women who wish to preserve a place for undisturbed traditional prayer at the holiest site in Jewish tradition. Women For the Wall seeks to ensure that all Jews may come and pray with respect and dignity at the place reserved for classical Jewish practice.