Wall scuffles as Torah is carried in for women

SCUFFLES broke out at the Western Wall when a Reform rabbi took a small Torah scroll into the women’s prayer section.

The action of Rabbi Gilad Kariv — a Labour member of the Knesset — was met with “violence and harassment” by ultra-Orthodox and hardline religious-Zionist protesters, said the Women of the Wall group.

The administrator of the holy site, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, had banned the group from using Torah scrolls at the Wall.

But they defied him by using it for their New Month service.

Security personnel were unable to prevent Rabbi Kariv’s entry or to confiscate the scroll due to his parliamentary immunity.

He said: “Together with Women of the Wall, and with the support of the majority of Israeli society and millions of Jews around the world, we will continue to fight for the right of all denominations and congregations within the Jewish people to pray in accordance with their custom at the Western Wall.”

A spokesman for the Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which manages, the site said it was “saddened by Mr Kariv cynically taking advantage of his immunity by coming to the Western Wall holding a Torah scroll which he tried to bring in to the complex, contrary to the directions of the legal adviser to the government and the site’s regulations.”

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