Woman arrested for wearing tallit at Western Wall

By Jessica Elgot, November 18, 2009
Woman of the Wall praying in Jerusalem

Woman of the Wall praying in Jerusalem

A woman has been arrested by Israeli police for wearing a tallit at the Western Wall.

Nofrat Frenkel, who was wearing a tallit, a kippah and carrying a Torah scroll, was arrested during the Women of the Wall’s Rosh Chodesh prayers.

Police who arrested Ms Frenkel say she was violating Israeli law that a certain dress code should be worn at the Kotel.

Forty women were attending the prayers in the Western Wall square when Ms Frenkel was allegedly seen reading from the scroll by members of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, who called police.

WOW’s chairwoman Anat Hoffman decried the arrest, claiming it was unprecedented in Israel’s history.

She said: “The woman is a young medical student who left Beersheba at 4:30 am in order to pray with us and now cannot stop crying."

"It is unthinkable that a citizen of the State of Israel is arrested for donning a prayer shawl and holding a scroll. There were hundreds of people on the other side of the screen who did the same and nothing happened to them."

Some of Israel’s senior rabbis have denounced women’s groups using the Western Wall for a political cause.

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz, who has previously been embroiled in arguments with WOW, said that Ms Frenkel’s actions had “brought dissent and infighting to a place that is supposed to symbolize unity. And that is a desecration."

Ms Frenkel was questioned by police and later released.

Last updated: 12:39pm, November 18 2009