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Women of the Wall Vice Chair Batya Kallus (pictured) and WOW Chair Anat Hoffman, advise and support a hefty list of anti-Israeli NGOs.

While Women of the Wall spokesmen claim that the political opinions of their leadership have nothing to do with their organization and that their organization is non-partisan, consisting of individuals with many different viewpoints and that they don’t deal with issues that have nothing to do with “egalitarian” worship at the Kotel, I personally believe that if the leadership is associated with anti-Israel groups, then the organization itself has a hidden anti-Israel agenda.

In my viewpoint, they seek to portray Israel as a fundamentalist anti-feminist country that forbids freedom of worship, thus driving a wedge between the State of Israel and the largely Reform-dominated Jewish American community that does prefer to pray with men and women together, with the women wearing tallits. This has the effect of pushing many American Jews away from Israel, thus forcing Israel into a wall, diplomatically speaking.

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My opinions are reinforced by the fact that Women of the Wall have accepted funding from the New Israel Fund in order to “research Israeli public opinion on imposed gender segregation at the Western Wall, as well as other issues related to pluralism and equality.” Additionally, the New Israel Fund processes all donations made to Women of the Wall. The New Israel Fund has given over $200 million to over 800 organizations in Israel, many of which have been identified as anti-Israel according to the NGO Monitor organization.

NGO Monitor has reported that a confidential US government cable (February 2010), released by Wikileaks, contained comments by NIF Associate Director in Israel Hedva Radanovitz stating that “she believed that in 100 years Israel would be majority Arab and that the disappearance of a Jewish state would not be the tragedy that Israelis fear since it would become more democratic.”  In February 2010, the Im Tirtzu organization launched a public campaign criticizing NIF for its grantees role in promoting the Goldstone Report and their involvement in “lawfare” cases in foreign courts.

While Women of the Wall might deny this makes them anti-Israel, these connections are enough by many people to make them viewed as an anti-Israel organization. For this reason, Women of the Wall continues’ to threaten news publications that have the audacity to present these facts to the public. However, as journalists, we are committed to share with the Israeli public the truth about political groups operating within our country. There are many well-meaning feminists who support Women of the Wall without being informed of the fact that the organization is led by individuals tied to anti-Israel groups. These women have the right to know the truth before they sign up for such a cause.

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Rachel Avraham is the CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy and an Israel-based journalist. She is the author of "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media."
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