Confrontation erupts over prayer at Western Wall

JERUSALEM — Thousands of ultra-Orthodox teenage girls and adults flooded the Western Wall early Monday, forcing a group of activist women to hold their monthly service farther from the wall than usual. It was the latest chapter of a bitter struggle over the nature of public prayer at one of Judaism’s holiest sites.

Two ultra-Orthodox men were arrested on suspicion of throwing objects at the women in the activist group, who prayed amid taunts and jeers in a section of the plaza behind the wall itself that was cordoned off by the police.

The incident came as Israel’s government works on new regulations governing prayer at the site, a remnant of a retaining wall around the ancient Jewish Temple. It follows a spate of arrests of members of the activist group, Women of the Wall, which prompted outrage.


The group won a court decision protecting their right to wear prayer shawls, traditionally used by men, at the site.