Israeli Supreme Court ruling favors women’s prayer at Western Wall

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Orthodox Jews try to prevent a group of American Conservative and Reform rabbis and the Women of the Wall movement members from bringing Torah scrolls into the Western Wall compound during a protest march against the government’s failure to deliver a new prayer space, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Old City, November 2, 2016. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90

Source: Jewish Telegraphic Agency

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of women being allowed to read from the Torah in the women’s section at the Western Wall and declared that an egalitarian prayer area set aside at nearby Robinson’s Arch does not constitute access to the holy site.

In an interim injunction announced Wednesday, the court gave the wall’s Orthodox administrators and state agencies 30 days to show cause why women cannot pray “in accordance with their custom” or allow them to pray as they choose.

It also declared that women should not be subjected to body searches before entering the plaza. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, the Orthodox-run body that oversees activity at the site, has authorized such searches to prevent worshippers from entering the women’s side with Torah scrolls, prayer shawls, tefillin and menorahs.

The court gave Western Wall administrator Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation and state agencies — including the Prime Minister’s Office and the Religious Services Ministry — 30 days to submit their response to the injunction.

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