Women of the Wall, the campaign group for equal prayer rights at the Western Wall, won a significant legal victory today as a Jerusalem court ruled that the police should not arrest them for their actions.
The Jerusalem District Court ruled that the women were not disturbing the peace or contravening ‘local custom’ by attempting to pray at the wall wearing prayer shawls or read out loud from the Torah.
The Jerusalem court also said that women should not be arrested for contravening a 2003 Supreme Court ruling saying that women should conform to local custom - for example by not wearing tallitot - and should not disturb the peace.
The court’s decision was given as a response to an appeal by the Israeli police asking for an injunction to prevent some Women of the Wall from visiting the site. Not only was the appeal rejected but the judgment was given, which, if it is not overturned by a higher court, could mark a major step forward for the women’s campaign.
The decision comes as the government makes strides on finding a solution to the problem of providing for egalitarian prayer at the holy site. Natan Sharansky, tasked by Benjamin Netanyahu with finding a solution, recently proposed the option of expanding the Kotel plaza to include a third prayer site for egalitarian prayer.