In Reversal, Israel Police Protect Praying Women

Usually, police arrest women instead
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2013 10:41 AM CDT
In Reversal, Israel Police Protect Praying Women
An Ultra-orthodox Jewish man scuffles with Israeli security forces while protesting a prayer by the "Women of the Wall," not pictured, at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem's old city, May 10, 2013.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews showed up to protest a prayer gathering by the "Women of the Wall" at Jerusalem's holy Western Wall today, hurling chairs, water, and garbage at the women and stones at their buses, Reuters reports. In a reversal, police held back and clashed with the protesters and arrested five of them; in the past, they've detained Women of the Wall worshipers instead. The changed police response follows a court ruling that stated women shouldn't be arrested for wearing prayer shawls there; in Orthodox tradition, only men are permitted to wear the shawls.

Sarah Silverman's sister, Rev. Susan Silverman, was among the Women of the Wall contingent. "SO proud of my amazing sister @rabbisusan & neice @ purplelettuce95 for their ballsout civil disobedience," the comedian tweeted. "Ur the tits!" There were many women among the Orthodox protesters as well, including a contingent of Haredi school girls, in a move dreamed up by the United Torah Party, the Jerusalem Post reports. Politicians are lining up on each side of the dispute, with some decrying the protesters' aggression and others, like the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, calling the Women of the Wall "the women of provocation," according to Ynetnews. (Read more Jerusalem stories.)

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