In a ruling that will send shockwaves through haredi society – and through halls of government – Jerusalem’s District Court ruled today that women who pray at the Kotel (Western Wall) wearing tallits (prayer shawls) and tefillin (phylacteries) does not violate local custom and can not be called a provocation – and therefore police have no right or justification for detaining or arresting women who do so, Ha’aretz reports.
The court also ruled that there is no law that forbids women from holding women’s only prayer groups at the Kotel, and there is no legal requirement that women’s prayer groups gather at the nearby Robinson’s Arch rather than the Kotel proper to pray. The court was specifically and strongly rejecting the police and Justice Ministry understanding of an almost decade old High Court ruling.
Judge Moshe Sobel – an Orthodox Jew – upheld a ruling handed down two weeks ago by the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court which denied a request by police to bar five women from the Women of the Wall organization from praying at the Kotel for a period of three months after the women had been arrested for wearing tallits and tefillin there.
… today’s court ruling should mean that the government has no choice but to allow the women to pray as they choose, where they choose now, making Sharansky’s plan an anachronism. (emphasis added)