Equal Access to Israel’s Western Wall Denied

(WOMENSENEWS)–A 15-year struggle by women’s group for equal access to Jerusalem’s Western Wall ended in failure this week, when Israel’s Supreme Court ordered that women should pray at a site near–but not in–the broad plaza that fronts the wall, the Los Angeles Times reported.The ancient wall is revered by Jews as the remnants of the biblical Second Temple. Men are allowed to pray aloud in front of the wall wearing shawls.Anat Hoffman, one of the leaders of an Israeli and U.S. group called Women of the Wall, began a crusade in 1988 for women to be allowed to read from the Torah and wear the “tallitot” while praying at the wall. Hoffman said she was devastated by the ruling. It was, she said, an unexpected setback after a court found in the women’s favor nearly three years ago–a decision swiftly appealed by the state and in effect overturned Sunday.”What a sad, sad day,” said Hoffman, an Israeli-born graduate of the California State University of Los Angeles, and a former member of the Jerusalem City Council. “This sets women apart, treats us as second-class citizens.