Anat sang “Shema”
Shackled, she asks us to hear
“Liberate the wall”
Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center was arrested last Tuesday night for saying the Shema aloud during Rosh Chodesh prayer services conducted at the Kotel by Women of the Wall.
She’s been arrested before, but was reportedly treated more violently by police than in the past. An article about the incident in The Forward quoted Hoffman saying “Israel has taken the holiest sites of the Jewish people and given them to a minority in Israel, and they are abusing their power … We need to liberate the wall again. We have to demand it.”
This comment brought to mind one of the arguments made by those who oppose dividing Jerusalem as part of any agreement with the Palestinians. When Israel did not control the old city Jews were unable to worship at the Kotel. But, we are proud to say, once Israel took control of Jerusalem members of all faiths were once again free to worship at their holy sites.
Except, apparently, Jewish women.
You can read Anat Hoffman’s statement, “Why I Was Arrested For Praying At The Western Wall” on Huffington Post.
[The photo accompanying this post is one I took last year in the Ophel Archeological Park, near the southwest corner of the Western Wall – far from the public prayer area of the Kotel. At the time I was saddened that this woman and her daughter were forced to pray there instead in the regular prayer area. Hoffman’s arrest last week made me think of them again]