When I first attempted to start a blog here on the Times of Israel, I wrote to David Horovitz telling him that I wanted to provide a different viewpoint and help “add integrity to the paper” by criticizing things I find problematic within the paper. Let’s consider this post as keeping to that goal.
The Women of the Wall have dominated all the papers recently. Whatever articles I have seen have unqualifiably been completely swayed favorably in their direction. Not surprising since they are a minority group challenging the dreadful Chareidi monopoly over the holiest site Jews are allowed to pray in today’s Israel.
Full disclosure: I really don’t like the Women of the Wall. I think they are a small group whose sole purpose has been, in recent years, to cause provocation and stir controversy.
I say this for two reasons:
First, I support the Orthodox control over the area. In my opinion the group that uses the Western Wall the most should be the one that determines the custom at the Wall. This is, without question, the Orthodox. Whether or not the Orthodox women (and men who can hear the the WotW) say anything does not mean they don’t feel put off and bothered. The recent turnout against the WotW would certainly indicate this to be the case.
Second: The WotW would be perfectly right to be provoking a situation if they had no place to pray in the way they wished. Such a situation does not exist as the Women who wish to pray out loud with Talleitim and Tfillon were given the Robinson’s Arch to pray at. I have yet to hear any reason why the Robinson’s Arch is problematic.
That being said, WotW have controlled the headlines, comparing their struggle to the civil rights movement. As far as I can recall, all blogposts written in favor of the Woman of the Wall have been featured on this site and all members have written featured pieces on this site. Ironically, the pieces they have written have all seemed to come from a bigoted place as they claimed to be fighting also on behalf of the uneducated Chareidi Women.
But all that doesn’t compare with what happened over the past weekend.
ToI ran two articles about this past Rosh Chodesh. The first, titled “Ultra-Orthodox teens clash with Women of the Wall at holy site” was a well crafted piece that focused on the heroic efforts of the WotW and the terrible Ultra-Orthodox Chareidim who wanted to block them from coming and, when they did come, threw stones and chairs at them.
Immediately, Ronit Peskin, in an effort to get the other side known, wrote about her experience at the wall that day; as well as her efforts in arranging the day of prayer by thousands of Orthodox Women– Ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, and National Religious– that day for a day of “unity.”
To sum up her words, the purpose was to show that there are more people who support the status quo than the WotW and to let the Government know that they should take that into consideration.
I expected ToI, in its efforts to show both sides, would cover this; or at least to feature her blogpost. To my dismay I saw the reporters notebook— with Ronit Peskin neatly swept under the rug and the heroines, once again, being the courageous WotW.
I expected better. I expected centricism.
Let me rephrase that:
I expect better. I expect centricism.
I expect to hear all sides.