ARZENU, the International Federation of Reform and Progressive Zionists, deeply regrets the detention of four women during Rosh Chodesh prayers at the Kotel this morning (December 14), on suspicion that they might “disturb the peace and offend others”, and the confiscation of tallitot.
The continued domination of holy places in Israel by the Orthodox Rabbinate only serves to drive a wedge between Jewish communities in Israel and between Israel and her supporters around the Jewish world.
Among those detained was the editor of the American Reform Movement’s prayer book, who is also the rabbi of a large and well known congregation. Two others were British participants in Netzer Olami’s Shnat Netzer programme. These young women are passionate advocates for a democratic and inclusive Israel and we are profoundly concerned that this is the face of Israel encountered by future leadership of our Zionist movement.
On this seventh day of Chanukah, we share the outrage of Reform and Progressive Jews in Israel and around the world that, contrary to the principles set out in Israel's declaration of independence, the Kotel is not a place where all Jews are allowed to pray in an egalitarian and respectful manner. We renew the call made at the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for all parties to find a solution that respects all streams of Judaism.
Toronto, December 14, 2012