Intimidation of leading Progressive Jew by Israeli Police


By Rabbi Aaron Gol...
January 11, 2010
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A few days ago, on January 5th, Anat Hoffman, the director of the Israel Religious Action Center, who spoke in our Shul last year was interrogated by the police for more than an hour about her activities during Women of the Wall's last monthly service in December. Speaking by phone from Jerusalem, Hoffman said she did nothing differently that day than she had for the 21 years of her group's existence.

But this incident follows the arrest in November of another member of the group, Nofrat Frenkel, and is contributing to a sense among the women in the organization that the Israeli authorities are stepping up their surveillance and intimidation of activities that challenge the ultra-Orthodox control of the holy site.

Hoffman said that the police told her that she was being investigated for violating a decision of the Israeli Supreme Court that prohibits women from wearing prayer shawls at the Wall. But the Women of the Wall claim to have accommodated themselves to the ruling; instead of donning the black-and-white tallitot, traditional for men, they each wear a smaller, multi-colored shawl like a scarf around the neck and under a coat, so as not to offend the strict sensibilities of other men and women at the Wall.

“It's a sad moment,” said Hoffman. She has gone to the police station in Jerusalem many times to lodge complaints against people who she says have attacked and occasionally physically hurt members of her group; none of those people have ever been arrested, she said. But this is the first time that she has been subject to interrogation herself. A lawyer and skillful advocate, she said that the questioning did not bother her, but the fingerprinting did. “There is something very violating about it,” she said.

Read more: http://www.npls.org.uk/Sermons/New/Shemot%205770.html

COMMENTS

moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Tue, 01/12/2010 - 10:51

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It's a disgrace that Israel wants itself to be known as the state of the Jewish people and yet it does this to Jews, who represent the majority of the community abroad because of narrow monopolist politics.
For more see here A State for all Jews...Yeah...Right...Whatever


Yvetta

Tue, 01/12/2010 - 14:58

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One of the most powerful sermons I've ever heard at any shul was one by Rabbi John Rayner at the LJS on "Compromise". Compromise is what's needed on this issue. I'm a Progressive Jew who is 100% Zionist, but I do wish our movement had parity within Israel. At the same time, I also wish all elements within Progressive Judaism outside Israel (they know who they are, and how they behaved during Cast Lead) would stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel when that tiny sliver of a nation is fighting for its very existence against an enemy sworn to its destruction.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Tue, 01/12/2010 - 15:16

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Yvetta, why should progressive Jews stand should-to-shoulder with Israel when they are spat upon by the Israelis who listen only to the Orthodox?


Yvetta

Tue, 01/12/2010 - 15:30

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For starters, because, for better or for worse, Israel is our homeland and our ultimate refuge, because it is a bastion of the West against Islamic fundamentalism and tyranny, and because it is a sanctuary for oppressed Jewries.


DLeigh-Ellis

Tue, 01/12/2010 - 21:55

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Thank you for posting this Rabbi, the Women of the Wall should know that there are many who support their struggle.

It is interesting to note that most of the news coverage, did not bother to find out that the women had in fact made the effort not to offend the Orthodox by altering and hiding their tallitot. This was the first i'd heard of that detail anyway. Typical tactic of trying to paint a group of moderate reformers look like extreme radicals.


moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Tue, 01/12/2010 - 22:17

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Yvetta, Israel cannot be our homeland if it treats those with different views of Judaism like repressive Muslim states treat those whom they claim to be apostate. Arresting a woman for praying at a holy place is what I would expect from Sudan or Pakistan.
Second, Israel cannot be our homeland if it does not give equal validity to all forms of Judaism. Why should the Orthodox hold a monopoly in state-religion relations?
Israel, our homeland? No, not unless it gives equal standing to all Jews.


raymee_jones

Tue, 01/12/2010 - 23:01

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Yvetta. "bastion of the West against Islamic fundamentalism and tyranny"....?
Isreal is run by the same political type people the world over - self serving (and generally motivated by greed, personal satisfaction, and gaining for it's country more land equity).
How is the country a sanctuary for oprressed Jewries?
America, Europe and even Africa hold more of a solace for many - and without the chaos of disorder by the many factions, and constant threat of bombs by it's neighbours...

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