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Using his immunity, Labor MK smuggles Torah for women to read at Western Wall

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Freshman Labor party MK Gilad Kariv on Tuesday used his parliamentary immunity to bring a Torah scroll to the Western Wall plaza, where he handed it over to a group of women for use during their prayer service, in violation of policy at the holy site.

Kariv’s actions drew condemnation from the Western Wall administration and ultra-Orthodox lawmakers, one of whom compared him to people who smuggle cellphones to convicted prisoners.

Kariv, an ordained Reform rabbi and director of the Reform movement in Israel, gave the scroll to the Women of the Wall, a pro-pluralism group that holds prayer services at the Western Wall on the first day of each month according to the Hebrew calendar, and which has spearheaded a campaign for equal prayer rights at the site. Tuesday was the first day of the Jewish month of Iyar.

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Scuffles broke out with Orthodox worshipers at the site in the Old City of Jerusalem, though the women were able to read from the scroll as part of their prayers.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation, which administers the site according to traditional Orthodox standards, only allows its own Torah scrolls to be used during prayer services. Although a 2013 court ruling found that women have the right to read from Torah scrolls during services, in practice there are no scrolls made available in the women’s section at the Western Wall, known in Hebrew as the Kotel.

אני גאה להשתמש בחסינות שלי על מנת לשאת בכותל את ספר התורה של נשות הכותל, ומתבייש בכך שרשויות שלטון עסוקות בניסיון להחרים ספרי תורה ולמנוע מנשים להתפלל ולקרוא בתורה כמנהגן.
גם הבוקר חשוב להזכיר, ישנו צד אחד שהסכים לפשרת הכותל ההיסטורית וצד שני שסיכל אותה בדורסנות. נחשו מי באיזה צד pic.twitter.com/Cgo6CkweVB

— גלעד קריב (@KarivGilad) April 13, 2021


© The Times of Israel

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