Another day of shame for an Israeli religious establishment and its police lackeys who violently wrested a sacred Torah scroll from the arms of a praying Jewish woman, all because she had the temerity to demand that Jewish women be entitled to worship equally with men at one of Judaism’s holiest sites.
Anat Hoffman, director of Women of the Wall and a leader of Israel’s Reform movement, was arrested by Israeli police at the behest of the men in black who cannot countenance any woman having the balls to demand the rights enjoyed by Jewish men for millenia–to hold and leyn from the Torah.
In Hoffman’s account of her ordeal published at the Forward, she noted that the Israeli Supreme Court had devised a compromise that allowed women to both carry and read from a Torah scroll at the Kotel and that she was not violating this ruling:
We did nothing wrong. We were fully within the guidelines of the Supreme Court ruling which allows us to hold the Torah. We were not reading from the Torah. We were just singing and praying, and on our way to Robinson’s Arch to complete the service, as per the terms of the Supreme Court. There was absolutely no reason for me to be arrested.
The arrest is solely a product of hateful, intolerant, power-grabbing Orthodox rabbis who feel that they own the Kotel and seek to set the rules and punish those who brook their power.
For her “crime,” she was fined $1,300 and placed under a restraining order that bars her from the Kotel for 30 days.
In response the Israeli police spokesperson acknowledged in Alice in Wonderland fashion that Hoffman was arrested for…prayer:
Anat Hoffman was arrested by police…because she prayed with a Sefer Torah.
A shande. If you are in Jerusalem on August 11th, join the Women at the Kotel and show the bastards that they don’t own our religion or the Kotel.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.