Activists Fume Over Quick Fix in Western Wall Gender Fight
Plaza offers site for mixed prayer
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Aug 26, 2013 11:33 AM CDT
An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man argues with a police officer as he protests during a prayer organized by the "Women of the Wall" organization, Aug. 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

(Newser) – Jerusalem's Western Wall has been embroiled in controversy over prayer rules tied to gender, and the latest attempt at a solution is rubbing many the wrong way. Backed by the Israeli minister for Jerusalem, Naftali Bennett, a new, 4800-square-foot prayer plaza is meant to offer an equal-opportunity praying location, the New York Times reports. Bennett calls it a "compromise ... to unify all the walks of Jewish life" ahead of a long-term solution.

But Women of the Wall, an activist group fighting for expanded prayer rights for women at the site, has launched a 24-hour sit-in against the plaza. It's a "second-rate Wall for second-rate Jews," says the leader of the group, Anat Hoffman, per the Times of Israel. Her organization is battling to pray at the main women's section of the wall; members have previously been arrested for praying in men's traditional shawls. Reform and Conservative Jewish leaders, however, say the plaza is a move in the right direction. "It’s a very, very small step—very modest," says a Reform rabbi.

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Showing 3 of 28 comments
right2dave
Aug 26, 2013 9:01 PM CDT
The Old Testament is just that. A set of rules that no one can live by. Another colossal waste of time when there is some much else that needs to be done, Do the Jews want peace or another religious law?
Chatsworth
Aug 26, 2013 5:18 PM CDT
Maybe they could also erect a prayer mall next to the prayer plaza with religious and food shops and the latest clothing styles.It could even have cell phone shops and places where one could buy buddha statuettes.Oh wait, Jesus hated the merchants by the temple,but then the Jews hated Jesus.
bagoman
Aug 26, 2013 4:48 PM CDT
in the immortal words of geroge carlin, we could get rid of religion, but that would take too long.