The Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Thursday ruled that Women of the Western Wall, cannot be searched by security guards at the entrance to the compound, for any reason other than security, clearing the way for them to bring in their Torah scrolls despite repeated attempts to bar them from their conducting their religious practices there.
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The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the group, a multi-denominational Jewish feminist organization against the Western Wall Heritage Foundation which administers the site.
"The court ruled today, de facto, that the Western Wall Heritage Foundation will not be able to prevent Women of the Western Wall from bringing a Torah scroll into the Western Wall. This is huge news for everyone who cares about freedom of religion and equality for women, Anat Hoffman, chairman of the Women of the Western Wall said. "For the first time, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation will not be able to enforce an extreme, discriminatory, and exclusionary policy towards women at the Western Wall, nor will they rummage through the belongings of Women of the Wall in order to locate a Torah scroll, as though it were a ticking time bomb. We congratulate the court on the important decision. We will continue to read the Torah in our own way at the Western Wall and raise a female voice at the Western Wall and everywhere."
The women who pray at the Western Wall at the beginning of each month in the Jewish calendar have been subjected not only to obstacles placed by the foundation but also to violence from ultra-Orthodox groups, both male and female who object to their form of worship.
Over the years, they had been promised a dedicated area in the compound for what they call egalitarian worship that would allow non-Orthodox streams in Judaism to worship, but despite an agreement reached by the government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2017, the prime minister recanted at the demand of his ultra-Orthodox coalition partners, a move that angered American Jewish groups and raised the concern of the U.S. government.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation said the ruling did not change the fact that bringing Torah scrolls into the site is illegal and that a lawsuit against the chief rabbi of the Western Wall was rejected by the court.