Blood, Sweat, and Tears

“Hello, Police? I’m being attacked, me and ten men and women walking with me. They’re throwing stones at us. Please send a car immediately.”

Blood, sweat, and tears. That is what we experienced today at our Rosh Hodesh Sh’vat service. For the past few months, we have been led by security to a gated area in the women’s section. Today this section was smaller than usual, and since we refused to be fenced in like animals, we were told we would not have security detail. Young seminary girls took advantage of this situation and crowded in on us - screaming, unmasked, in our faces. 

Through the chaos, tears were shed as we rejoiced in the B’nei Mitzvah celebration of Shai from New Jersey. Shai, who spent months preparing for this moment, read from the single piece of parchment since our request to bring in a Torah scroll had been denied.

We thought the worst was behind us as we exited the Kotel plaza. But that was not true. An angry mob of ultra-Orthodox teens trailed after members of our group, and one of our supporters Jonathan was brutally attacked, thrown against a wall, and bloodied. The police had abandoned their duties, giving license to this mob to violently harass us. So I called the police for help.

Every month, it is evident that security forces at the Kotel turn a blind eye to our safety. This morning, the head of security observed the obvious violence around us, but only took out his bullhorn to ask me to climb off the plastic chair I was standing on. What nerve! Because of this attitude and ineptitude, we face aggression every month, simply for daring to pray as we wish at our holiest site.

On Twitter, Nachman Shai, Minister of Diaspora Affairs, wrote: “We cannot tolerate violence in the name of God! The attack 2day against the Women of the Wall perpetrated by youths incited 2 violence is appalling. The @IL_police must find & punish those who drew blood, & leaders of all religious communities must condemn such violence.”

Thank you, Minister Shai. To your words, we say, “Amen, Amen.”

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