Masorti Matters Blog
Gideon Aronoff, Executive Director, Masorti Foundation
On Rosh Chodesh Shevat, we once again witnessed ultra-Orthodox agitators physically and verbally attacking women trying to pray peacefully at the Kotel.
Masorti Movement CEO Rakefet Ginsberg said: “The prayer this morning was a red flag for all of us. The violence is increasing every month, and it seems as if the Israeli authorities are abandoning their duty to protect women coming to pray in our tradition at the Western Wall. Today it ended in bloodshed and we fear it can get even worse.”
The Masorti Foundation stands in solidarity with our Masorti Israel partners, as well as our friends from the Reform Movement and Women of the Wall, in decrying these brutal acts of violence and harassment. Equally outrageous is the failure of the nearby security guards to protect the women who had every right to observe Rosh Chodesh Shevat without blood being drawn.
We deplore the extreme positions taken by MK Avi Maoz who in a meeting with Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo urged him to prevent egalitarian prayer at the Kotel. Maoz and his Noam Party want to shut down the current egalitarian prayer site at the Kotel – disenfranchising the vast majority of the Jewish People in Israel and worldwide who value this type of prayer service.
We must redouble our efforts to safeguard the holy site as a welcoming place for all Jewish people who believe in an inclusive, pluralistic Israel. One that provides equal access for Jews of all streams to pray peacefully at the Kotel. By doing so we will ensure the vitality of the diverse Jewish community in Israel and around the world.
The only solution is the immediate implementation of the Kotel Agreement. We must not let another year go by without this Agreement being reinstated. Let us resolve that 2022 is the year when all religious and political factions come together to facilitate equal access to the Kotel. Our Movement stands with all Jewish people who want the freedom to practice Judaism according to their own tradition and practices – from Haredi to secular. The Kotel belongs to every Jewish person – period.
I can assure you that the Masorti Movement of Israel is here for the duration and we will not rest until all streams can celebrate simchas and pray in a religious environment that is respectful of Jewish people of all backgrounds.
Watch this space for opportunities to advocate for a more just and inclusive Israel at the Kotel and beyond.