Freedom of religion in Israel

A group of Jewish women were detained in Israel for praying at the Western Wall outfitted in religious garb traditionally worn by men. This offends Orthodox Jews, and a court-order has barred the women from praying at the Wall while wearing these traditional items.

What does Israeli law say about freedom of religion, especially within the diversity of Judaism? As an American (of partly Jewish descent), this seems pretty clear-cut; the women should be able to wear whatever they want and pray wherever they want, as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others. I don’t see why the Orthodox Jews in this case have a right to not be offended that overrides the rights of the women to pray. Is there more to this that I don’t understand?

Quick question: do you think Jews should be able to enter the Al-Aksa mosque or the area around it and pray there?

Here is a good article on the “group of women” controversy:

Do you care to share your opinion on this issue?

My step daughter prayed at the wall in an area designated for women.

What position are you looking for? What reasonable differing opinion can be offered?

The Israeli court basically said, everybody is free to play with the other kids as long as they respect the other kids rights as well. Everyone seems to be aware of the rules and manages to play by them. Along comes a small loud group of kids thinking the rules don’t apply to them. So the authorities rule that since they do not play well with others they need to go find a different place to play.

The “men’s garb” were things like kippot and tallit worn by women all across the US in conservative, reconstructionist and reform synagogues. It wasn’t some noisy slap in the face, but an attempt to worship at a deeply meaningful site in an equal way, typical of the way women worship all over.

I’m an Israel do or die supporter, the strangle hold the ultra orthodoxy have infuriates me.

I’m looking to see if I’m missing anything. From your point, it seems like the women’s group was playing nicely- it’s just that other groups have unreasonable expectations about how they think people should behave at the Wall- specifically, they don’t think women should dress a certain way, pray a certain way, or pray in a specific place at the Wall.

I could very well be missing something, and I’d like to know what that could be.

I think everyone has been happy with their designated area of the wall.

It doesn’t appear that the women in the article I linked are happy.

There are serious issues about freedom of religion in Israel, and for those Americans who’re curious, I’d suggest ARZA, a reform Jewish organization dedicated to religious pluralism in Israel.

The issue of the Wall is a non-issue. Blah upon it.

It looks like ARZA supports the Women of the Wall.

They got it wrong on this one. They normally do good stuff and they try to work as a counterbalance to the ultra orthodox influence in Israel.

Why do you think they’re wrong? Why shouldn’t the women be allowed to wear the traditional (men’s) garb and pray in the traditional way (for men) there?

I’d say, rather, it’s a very minor issue. You have some problems with violence (spitting, etc.) You have some problems with minor physical assault, as when people have caps shoved onto their heads, or snatched off their heads, etc. It brings out the worst in some people, and a legitimate law-enforcement authority ought to be established to prevent this.

It’s not unique to the Wall, of course. A friend of mine was assaulted when she went into a Russian Orthodox church and had a scarf shoved over her head. For her, it was a non-issue, but not everyone is as cool with being handled.

Because it offends the religion of the ultra orthodox. My step daughter prayed at another area of the wall with a kippah and tallit without having furniture thrown at her.
Jews don’t pray at the remains of the Temple because there is a Mosque there, and the Muslims shouldn’t be offended, either.
A compromise is as agreement that no one likes, but everyone can live with.

Mrs. Plant v.2.0 wore a tallit in a Modern Orthodox synagogue, one of the guys had words with her, and had I been there, I’d have asked him to step outside. My step daughter on the other hand was willing, even happy to wear a scarf to conform to her host’s beliefs.
My Wife should have, too, because the guy was a lot bigger than I. :slight_smile:

But it’s a public area of the Wall- why should the ultra-orthodox sensibilities have to apply to everyone? From my understanding, the portion assigned for women to pray is an adjacent archaeological site that is “less holy”.

So that they don’t offend each other.
As to being “less Holy” you got me, I have no idea.

So the right of the ultra-orthodox to avoid being offended trumps the rights of the women to pray where they want to? That doesn’t seem right to me.

I’m stepping into a minefield here, but if they believe in the Torah, why would they want to?

Well, times change. Even the most orthodox of all don’t stone people to death for picking up firewood on the Sabbath.

What, exactly, defines “men’s clothing” anyway? Work boots and gloves? An army helmet? A long-sleeve button-up shirt with the buttons on the wearer’s own right?

(And does anyone pay any attention to the ban on mixing textiles? This, I honestly do not know; do the very orthodox still shun linsey-woolsey?)

Most of the Jews I know had no objection to a nice Baja-style shrimp cocktail or a ham sandwich… But I have had encounters with those who were so orthodox that, on Saturday, they would cross the street without regard for traffic signals. Very uncomfortable, that…