Ahead of Israel's national memorial days--including Holocaust Memorial Day and a day of remembrance for fallen soldiers--a group of women are protesting a new Israeli directive that prohibits females from reciting the Jewish prayer of mourning at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall.
The group, "Women of the Wall," spoke out about a March 14 letter published in Ha'aretz, in which Jerusalem Police Chief Yossi Pariente prohibited women from saying the Kaddish at the holy site. "The police chief's decision is ... not enforceable," group founder Anat Hoffman told the press. "We will continue and fight for our right to pray as we wish and as we see fit. The police are taking the ultra-Orthodox side because they are afraid of them and their power."
The Women of the Wall have been active since 1988 and have long agitated for the right to pray at the site. In 2003, Israel's Supreme court ruled that women have a legal right to worship at a site near the Wall, a ruling seen as a compromise to accommodate Orthodox beliefs about segregated prayer.