Israeli Women Could Face Seven Years in Jail for Praying

The Israeli parliament yesterday attempted to override a recent Israeli Supreme Court decision granting women greater religious equality. Parliamentarians showed support for a bill that would ban women from wearing prayer shawls, reading from Torah scrolls, and participating in other religious rituals at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, under penalty of a seven-year jail term. The bill aims to block last week’s Supreme Court decision giving a women’s prayer group the right to pray at the Western Wall, which is already divided into women’s and men’s sections. While the bill is unlikely to become law, women’s rights activists and liberal parliamentarians reacted strongly to its introduction, saying it “undermines Israel’s democracy and undercuts women’s rights.” Liberal parliamentarian Naomi Chazzan called the measure “fundamentalist” and “frightening,” and vowed that her party “will do everything to prevent Israel from turning into an Afghanistan or Iran.”


Boston Globe - 2June, 2000

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