Women For the Wall condemned today the Women of the Wall’s demand that the government prevent traditional women from praying at the Kosel. In its list of sixteen conditions for moving their Rosh Chodesh prayer to a new section, the Women of the Wall requires that, effective immediately, the government stop “ultra-Orthodox leaders who are organizing demonstrations against Women of the Wall.” This is a reference to Women For the Wall, who have brought thousands of women to the Kosel each month to show their desire that the traditions of the Wall not be changed.
“The very idea that a group that can hardly muster 100 women on a good month should dictate to the government how to run the Kotel plaza is mindboggling,” said Ronit Peskin, Director of Women for the Wall. “The list of demands is yet another example of Women of the Wall’s preoccupation with themselves at the expense of the Jewish People.”
Women of the Wall’s demands include an anti-democratic ban on other organized groups, as well as a permanent cap on the size of the area for traditional prayer – along with the “right” to arrange for women to sing in the plaza immediately behind the men’s section without restriction. Additional demands include a contiguous plaza which would inevitably damage the existing archaeological site, a state budget equivalent to the one currently available to the administration of the existing plaza, control over the development of the alternative plaza and the existing plaza (outside the separate prayer area), and a government commitment to augmenting the prestige of the new egalitarian plaza.
“While they claim to fight for ‘women’s rights’, the Women of the Wall are trampling the rights of all other women, demanding that they be removed from the Kosel women’s section when WOW shows up,” said Leah Aharoni, co-founder of Women for the Wall. “Women of the Wall claim to give women a voice at the Kosel, yet in reality they are there to squash the voice of hundreds of thousands of women, who oppose their antics and want to preserve existing Jewish tradition.”
Women for the Wall, a grassroots organization committed to preserving the consensus around the Kosel and maintaining the sanctity of the place, is dedicated to ensuring that the Western Wall can be a place for all Jews to come and pray with respect and dignity. It believes that only by preserving classical Jewish practice at the Wall can it be a place where all Jews can be welcome.