New York, NY, January 11, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court that could allow women to read from a Torah scroll at the Western Wall. ADL said the ruling was an important step toward ensuring that women have equal access and treatment at the Western Wall.
The Supreme Court ruled that women would be allowed to read from a Torah scroll at the Western Wall unless the government provided “good cause” within 30 days to stop them. The court also ruled that the Western Wall security authorities must stop subjecting women entering the Kotel plaza to extra body searches, which have been done to stop women from smuggling in Torah scrolls.
“We welcome this Supreme Court ruling as an important step toward ensuring women have equal access and treatment at the Western Wall,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, and Carole Nuriel, Director of ADL’s Israel Office. “The Western Wall is sacred to all Jews, and Jews of all stripes should be allowed to conduct prayer services and Torah readings according to their practice.
“We hope this ruling contributes to the easing of the Orthodox control over religious matters within Israeli society,” Mr. Greenblatt and Ms. Nuriel said.
ADL had previously welcomed the Israeli government’s decision to establish a permanent egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall, and later expressed concern about the ongoing delays by the government in implementing the plan.