The “egalitarian” section at the southernmost part of the Western Wall stood empty on Wednesday, one of the Chol Ha’Mo’ed (intermediary) days of Sukkot, when a group of “Hardalim” (Hebrew acronym for Haredi National Religious) arrived and established a partition between men and women in the middle of the area, to facilitate Orthodox prayer, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported.
The “egalitarian” section was awarded to Reform and Conservative Jews by former Minister of Religious Services Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi) as a stopgap measure, while the political debate continues to rage intermittently over their demands to be included in the more prestigious real estate of the main Kotel plaza. However, on Wednesday, no egalitarian Jews were present at the site, and so the Orthodox, who pray on a daily basis, took over and in short order de-egalitized the place.
Bezalel Zinni, Head of the Joint Headquarters for the Preservation of the Sanctity of the Western Wall and one of the organizers of the event at the Reform-Conservative area, explained: “This is part of the attempt to expose the lie of the Reform movement. While they try to claim that they are ‘the majority of world Jewry’ and “lovers of the state,” the people of Israel know the truth: millions of Jews arrive each year for Selichot at the Western Wall, for the intermediate days of Sukkot, for Tisha B’Av and for weekdays, in separation between the sexes and in holiness. On this Chol Ha’Mo’ed, too, the people of Israel will visit the Western Wall in a call to preserve its sanctity at its entire stretch.”
The Facebook page of “Ezrat Yisrael – The Egalitarian Area at the Western Wall,” whose operators found out from reporters about the Orthodox “invasion,” issued a fierce attack, saying: “Call your bullying prayer as much as you like, but it will not change what really happens. What evil and wickedness must there be in an attempt to rob us of the poor man’s sheep (II Samual:12)? The northern Western Wall is entirely at your disposal, but you choose to invest considerable efforts and money to bring worshipers to the Wall of Families, to Ezrat Israel, just so you can ostentatiously put up a partition and pray separately, to mark this territory, too.”
“So, you may know how to pray, but your act is ugly, immoral, and not Jewish.”
Ezrat Israel called on the Israeli government to enforce the rules regarding mixed-sex prayer at the designated area of the Kotel, but, of course, this entire drama would have been prevented had there been even a couple of Reform or Conservative Jews to celebrate Chol Ha’Mo’ed at the Kotel.