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Israeli members of the liberal Jewish religious group Women of the Wall praying on April 24, 2016, (Photo credit: GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

Religious rights

Women of the Wall leader detained after prayer service at Jerusalem holy site

By WITW Staff on June 7, 2016

The leader of the Jewish women’s rights group the Women of the Wall has been detained for bringing a Torah to the wall during a prayer service at the Jerusalem holy site. Lesley Sachs, the leader of the feminist group, was detained by police as she left the wall Tuesday and taken to a Jerusalem police station for questioning after a complaint was made against her.

The incident is the latest development in an ongoing conflict between the conservative Jewish authorities that oversee the site and the women in the group who are pushing for greater access and equality at the Western Wall. According to The New York Times, the Torah that Sachs brought with her to the site was sent by a congregation in Sacramento, Calif. The women have won support from many liberal Jewish groups around the world, while the rabbis that oversee the wall continue to ban women from bringing in scrolls or conducting certain prayers traditionally offered only by men. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working with both sides to reach an agreement on the women’s access to the wall, according to the Times.

Sachs told the Times she felt tired after her interrogation, during which she was fingerprinted and spent five hours at the police station in the Old City of Jerusalem.

“I am nearly 58 and I never considered myself a criminal,” she said, adding, “This is not the way it should be in Israel 2016.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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