Ultra-Orthodox Jews Attack Women Over Prayer

A growing group of progressive Jewish women demand the right to pray at Jerusalem’s Western Wall in the same way as men — carrying holy texts and prayer shawls. An Israeli court recently sided with the equal-righters, affirming that nothing should prevent women from participating in the same rituals performed by ultra-Orthodox men.

But today, when the women turned up to pray in the hours before the Jewish Sabbath, bands of protesting men bombarded the women with trash, water, and chairs. They also stoned the women’s buses.

Three or five ultra-Orthodox men (accounts differ) were arrested for disorderly conduct.

The protesters might have been extra enraged by the government’s plan, announced yesterday, to stop Jewish zealots from trying to enforce gender segregation in public, such as relegating women to the back of public buses.

“Discrimination against women in public places, in public services, cannot be allowed,” [Justice] minister Tzipi Livni told Army Radio. … “Today, I instructed the Justice Ministry to draft legislation … that will make any segregation of women and their humiliation in a public space a criminal offence,” Livni said on her Facebook page. …

The separation of women and men on bus lines through religious neighborhoods, and incidents in which Jewish zealots have spat at schoolgirls they deemed to be dressed immodestly, have raised public pressure on the government to act.

More on the patriarchal venom of ultra-Orthodox Jews here.