It is literally minutes before Shabbat descends on Perth.
There is time to speak out, but only just. There are reports from Israel about violence at the Kotel. The “Women of the Wall” adorned in talit and tefillin have been accorded the legal right to pray at the site by the Jerusalem District Court. A brawl has broken out in which it is reported that garbage, water, and coffee was flung at the praying women.
Whoever can act like this in the name of religion, kal vechomer in the name of Judaism, has a warped sense of religious values. This action must be condemned, immediately and unequivocally by every Rabbi who believes in Sim Shalom Baaretz.
One wonders if in the days of King Solomon and King David whether women seeking religious expression in the Beit Hamikdash would have been treated with disrespect and unacceptable violence if their customs differed from that of the Priests? As we know, there were religious zealots around during that time, and sadly, as we know, baseless hatred divided the nation and led to a loss of sovereignty.
Like any situation in Israel, there is no doubt more to the story, and without question an element of provocation will be involved. However, no matter what the circumstances, behavior such as that which has been reported is a chillul Hashem and an indictment on the Jewish people.
Some months ago I was in Jerusalem. I had arranged to Skype back to Perth at a particular time. It so happened I was in a Haradei area of the City. I sat in a quiet corner with my Ipad. Obviously the use of technology, let alone the image of a women on the screen was too much to bear. A haradei man passing by saw the scene and through a cup of coffee at me, with the intent to injure. I narrowly dodged the missile. But the experience makes me understand and know what these women at the wall must have experienced.
It is a sad day for Klal Yisrael when we descend into behavior such as this. There are no excuses. We have differences and we have a mesorah to protect. This is not the way to go about it.
Shabbbat Shalom from Perth.