20 thoughts on “Israeli Jew, Woman, Want to Pray at the Kotel? Go to Jail. – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard, while I agree with your sentiments and think this is an excellent piece, it’s important to note that R’ Ovadia Yosef is NOT the Chief Rabbi of Israel, and hasn’t been for a long time – since 1983, to be precise. He IS the spiritual leader of the Shas Party, and he is also considered one of the leading halakhic authorities in the world. But he is not an official voice of the Israeli Rabbinate.

  2. What’s the point of this post, of the series it’s in, and perhaps of your entire blog, Richard? There are idiots, scoundrels and criminals in every society and country; there always have been and always will be. Humans are, alas, flawed. If you wished to focus on such behaviors, you could look at any place in the world.

    If your preference is to describe Israel, because you care about it because being Jewish yourself it’s more important to you than, say, France or Mauritania, it would be reasonable to tell also about the sages, saints and simply regular folks with which Israel is blessed, just like any other society in the world. Assuming your interest is to present or understand a society about which you care.

    If you consistently cherry pick the warts while overlooking all else, there must be an agenda, and it’s unlikely to be an admirable one. When you do so about the Jews, you run the danger of disseminating antisemitic materials, even if you yourself have no such intention. Some of your readers clearly are, going by their comments, and eventually, if it becomes a pattern, you begin to be tainted by association.

    Or is it possible you think Israel really is unusually evil, perhaps even uniquely so? If so you are, simply, an antisemite. There’s a long and dishonorable history of antisemitic Jews, going back thousands of years; are you part of that group, Richard? The more I read your blog, the more I wonder.

    1. Remember the scandals a few years ago involving sexual harassment by senior Catholic clergymen in both the US and Austria? That was a story precisely because of the status of the culprits, or rather that was the reason their religion was a prominent feature in the story. That wouldn’t have been the case with ordinary laypersons of any religion.
      Of course there are idiots, scoundrels and criminals in every society and religious community, but when these idiots etc. ascend to senior, powerful positions in their hierarchy they rightly make the news in their respective capacity. After all, they don’t just speak for themselves, they represent others.
      If Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wasn’t President of Iran, who’d care about his rants?
      If Rabinovitz and Yosef weren’t high-ranking rabbis, who’d care about their Taliban minds? The state of Israel has voluntarily vested the orthodox rabbinate with worldly power, the Jewish state pretends to be the state of all Jews, so how can any Jew not have the right to say, “not in my name”?
      If this was just an intra-orthodox affair it probably wouldn’t be skin off anyone else’s noses, but it isn’t, it’s a direct, institutional assault on religious freedom of the kind “only” non-Jews had to suffer in Israel so far.

    2. What’s the point of this post, of the series it’s in, and perhaps of your entire blog, Richard?

      I think all these pts are obvious to me and most of my readers. So that means I’ll lv. the questions for you to ponder.

      If you wished to focus on such behaviors, you could look at any place in the world.

      Indeed. But I’m Jewish and write a blog that largely deals with Israel. That’s my subject so that’s what I write about. You’re welcome to write a “Don’t worry, be happy” blog about Israel and we’ll see how much traction you get. Maybe Bobby McFerrin will even write a theme song for you.

      If you want hasbara and happy talk about Israel there are thousands of such blogs around. I write about positive, constructive matters when I find them, which alas isn’t terribly often. There is much more that is wrong about Israel than is right. I don’t say this happily or triumphantly. I say it candidly. I await the time when Israel can fully address those problems & present that constructive positive side to the world.

      is it possible you think Israel really is unusually evil, perhaps even uniquely so?

      I’d say it’s possibly you believe that & would like to put those words in my mouth. But doing so would mean you’d be lying about my views, not to mention that you’d be outrageously chutpadik to do so.

      If so you are, simply, an antisemite.

      This is a MAJOR violation of my comment rules. If you even get within 100 yards of such a statement (even asking it as a question) in the future you’ll be banned here so fast yr head will spin. I protect my reputation assiduously from poison like yours. Follow the rules or don’t bother commenting here.

      Until now, your comments have been immediately published. From now for the foreseeable future they will be moderated & approved upon my reading them. If they adhere to my comment rules they will be published. If not, they won’t. If you can publish comments here that do not violate the rules I’ll remove you fr. the moderation queue and restore yr previous privileges. I take very seriously the types of motzi shem ra in which you’ve just engaged.

      1. Actually, Richard, I think the suggestion that you’re a type of antisemite is quite reasonable. For the past few years I’ve been collecting materials for a book about how to define an antisemite (there are different types of them, of course), and I could see writing a few paragraphs about you; you’d be a more interesting case than some, since you’re sincerely Jewish in your odd way.

        On the other hand, don’t hold your breath. I don’t see how I’m going to find the time to write the book anytime soon, both because writing of any sort is only a small segment of what I do (I’ve got a business to run, a life to live, etc), but also because in the meantime I’ve found other topics that interest me more.

        Whether you’re an antisemite or not, you are a foulmouthed fanatic, incapable of understanding complexity, profoundly intolerant, and surrounded by readers even more distasteful than yourself. Watching you and them is interesting for the window it gives into the minds of your particular splinter of the American political scene, but after a (short) while it becomes repetitive and boring.

        So you don’t need to trouble yourself with banning me. I’m out of here. Goodbye.

        Dr. Yaacov Lozowick
        Jerusalem

        1. That’s it, you’re toast. Primary violation of comment rules. You’ve been warned. You’re done. Now go and cry about big bad Richard and how nasty he was to you because you called him an anti-Semite. But whatever you do don’t you dare forget to add that I don’t let anyone call me an anti-Semite. Not you, not anyone. In the same way, I don’t let anyone call me names from a left-wing perspective. And also add while you’re at it that I accused you of the worst form of motzi shem ra. I dare you to include that in yr diatribes against me.

          I don’t see how I’m going to find the time to write the book

          Come, come. It will be such a loss to human knowledge. Are you sure we can’t persuade you otherwise? Take up a collection perhaps to support you while you’re on yr fearless trip to expand the understanding of anti-Semitism. Just remember to spell my name right and give a link to my blog.

          you are a foulmouthed fanatic

          Poor boy. I didn’t know I hurt your feelings and without even any 4 ltr words! A bit thin skinned, are we?

    3. “There’s a long and dishonorable history of antisemitic Jews”

      Here’s a quote from one of them. Try to guess who it is.

      “Just try to rescind the legal equality of the Jews. (Only their legal equality exists, anyway. What a misunderstood doctrine for the men from the beerhall!) What would be the consequences of that? Immediately all Jews, not only the poor ones as hitherto, but the rich ones as well, would join the Socialist Party with all their resources. They would plunge to their moneybags the way a Roman plunged unto his sword.” – his diary, vol. I, p. 121

      Another one from the same individual:

      “About two years ago I wanted to solve the Jewish Question, at least in Austria, with the help of the Catholic Church. I wished to gain access to the Pope (not without first assuring myself of the support of the Austrian church dignitaries) and say to him: Help us against the anti-semites and I will start a great movement for the free and honorable conversion of Jews to Christianity.”

      Hint: an Israeli city is named after him.

      1. Good pt. I feel we should have one of those newspaper quiz formats w. the answer to yr question displayed upside down at the bottom of yr comment. But presumably Yaakov will get the joke & the fact that it’s on him.

      2. I think I can guess the answer! Are there better references for these things? If there was anyone willing to host photographs of the relevant pages, with translations, to go into Wikipedia Or is that a quick way to be really attacked as antisemitic?

  3. I’ll be very brief here and this is in response to yaacov.

    Richard is most definitely not an anti-semite, to even imply such a thing is grossly obtuse.

    But you Yaacov, you are glaringly anti-woman. Instead of agreeing that such behavior towards women is abhorrent and unfair, you attack the person here who has brought this event to our attention. This makes you one of those people who sanction such actions against women and you don’t want anyone to know about it. If some brave soul decides to open a discussion they immediately get slapped with the tired old anti semite accusation. Tsk Tsk Tsk

    1. If you asked me what was more important–that Jewish women be allowed to pray freely & openly at the Kotel or that Jews be allowed to pray at the Dome of the Rock I’d say give it to the women every time.

        1. Other than provocation & attempt at fomenting religious war, what would be the pt.? Do you just want to flex yr Jewish religious muscle for the hell of it as so many settlers do? Or is there some real spiritual pt. to praying at this specific place as opposed to the Kotel which is only a few hundred feet away? Keep in mind that Jews do not generally consider places as holier than ideas, individual human beings, religious doctrine & religous deeds.

          1. The woman in question was part of a political group (Women of the Wall). Her actions were a political stunt aimed at provocation and were an attempt to elicit a response to garner public attention.

            This wasn’t some random Jewish woman seeking to pray at the Kotel according to her religious convictions.

            This group and its members are concerned with making a political argument against traditional Judaism rather than sincere prayer.

          2. Her actions were a political stunt aimed at provocation

            No, actually prayer is not political. It is spiritual. But when someone stops you from praying THEY make it a political issue & remove it from the realm of religion & spirituality. It wasn’t Nofrat Frenkel who introduced the police into the situation. It was the Orthodox religious mafia that did that.

            This wasn’t some random Jewish woman seeking to pray at the Kotel

            You’re half right. She wasn’t a random Jewish woman (interesting phrasing as if all Jewish women were interchangeable), but rather a brave, courageous woman willing to brave jail and arrest for her religious convictions. And you’re wrong because she was in fact praying at the Kotel. Prayer should not be political. It should be religious. And women should be entitled to pray in the same way Jewish men have for centuries. If Orthodox rabbis want to maintain there customs they may do so–as long as they allow those Jews whose practice constitutes the vast majority of the rest of the Jews in the world to do so according to their own conscience. There is plenty of space at the Kotel to allow diff. groups to daven according to their own dictates. But the proble is that the Orthodox want to control the space & maintain their monopoly, which is quite a political act.

            making a political argument against traditional Judaism

            They are making a RELIGIOUS argument against Orthodox intolerance & hate of their fellow Jews who don’t share their beliefs.

        2. Lets remind ourselves that Israel has no rights to the Wailing Wall, which belongs to the Muslim authorities. And the wall cannot possibly be the remains of the first Temple anyway, because there wasn’t one.

          Unless Israel blows up us (and the wall) then the Jews will go back to being a peaceful minority, only rarely interfered with. Whether the owners of the wall will forgive them for all the misery Israel has inflicted is, of course, another matter.

  4. RE: Note the rabbi’s introduction of Occupation terminology into his portrayal of the event: “It is an act of provocation that seeks to turn the Western Wall into disputed territory…”

    ALSO: provocation = “incitement”

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