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The battle over the right of women to pray at the Kotel is heating up just as recommendations for a possible compromise on the issue are being prepared for Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Last week, the police warned that they were prepared to file charges against women for praying at the Western Wall. In a letter to Women of the Wall, the police even included saying Kaddish -- the Jewish prayer for the dead -- as grounds for prosecution.
Meanwhile, Women of the Wall -- an organization struggling to ensure the rights of women to pray at the Western Wall -- is getting ready for their monthly prayer gathering on Thursday.
We’ve been in touch with them. They are preparing for the possibility that some of their members will be arrested (as has become the norm) and that some may even face charges (which has never happened before)
Sign this petition to show your support for these brave women in Israel.
We’ll deliver the statement to the women who gather to pray on Thursday [UPDATE 4/11/2013: We sent the 3,000 signatures we collected in the first two days this morning to the leadership of Women of the Wall], and we’ll continue to gather signatures until the Israeli government takes steps to correct the situation. Your signature on this statement will send the message that supporters of Israel worldwide are committed to fighting for justice and for religious freedom.
Right now, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky is charged with making recommendations to the prime minister about how to accommodate the rights of women at the Kotel. He will suggest expanding the Western Wall plaza to create a new area for egalitarian prayers.
Now, as these recommendations are being finalized, is the key time for us to make our voices heard.
This struggle is about freedom of worship. Israel has granted authority over the Kotel to ultra-Orthodox rabbis to determine what behavior is, and is not, allowed at the site. Why should one group be allowed to dictate religious practice to everyone?
This struggle is about equality. Why should men and women have different rights?
Women of the Wall has taken steps to ensure that the world can see that their struggle is peaceful and uplifting. You can join their struggle and check out the latest updates, including video footage of their prayers at the Kotel by liking their Facebook page. Here’s the link. Check back on Thursday to see footage of that day’s events.