When I first heard about the Women of the Wall, I thought I supported their cause. I mean, I’m a woman, I love women, I support women connecting with God- what’s not to like?
But the more I heard about Women of the Wall, the more I learned about who funds them, their leaders, the statements they’ve made to the media numerous times, and learned more details about what the Women of the Wall actually do, my opinion drastically changed.
Which is why I don’t buy the “official survey” put out by the very biased* source, the Israel Democracy Institute, which showed that “48% of those polled support Women of the Wall”.
This poll was misleading and asked the wrong questions, especially the main one: “Recently there have been several clashes between police and the Woman of the Wall, who insist on the equal right to pray out loud next to the Western Wall with tallit (prayer shawl) and tefillin (phylacteries) . Do you support or oppose the idea that the Women of the Wall should be allowed to pray in the manner that they choose?”
Because- guess what- Women For the Wall also supports the Women of the Wall’s right to pray as they choose: out loud, with tallit and tefillin, next to the Western Wall.
We support their right to do so at the Robinson’s Arch section of the Western Wall.
A true poll would have asked them “Are you aware of the section of the Kotel called Robinson’s Arch where non traditional prayers are permitted?”
And then the next question being “Knowing that if Women of the Wall prayed at Robinson’s Arch section of the Kotel, no one would object, and they’d be able to pray as they wish with no disturbances, no heckling, no arrests, etc… even if its not where they ideally would like to pray… do you support the Women of the Wall’s right to pray in the section of the Kotel set aside for traditional prayer, where they know it will offend people and cause a scene?”
“Knowing that Anat Hoffman has said straight out that they aren’t interested in the Sharansky compromise of increasing and improving the egalitarian section of the Kotel, and praying there, because they’re only interested in praying in the women’s section of the traditional section of the Kotel, even though they know it offends most people there and causes huge commotions every time, whether from police or from hecklers, which disrupts everyone, do you support their right to pray in the women’s section of the traditional part of the Kotel?”
I’m sure if such a poll were done, the answer would be very, very different than the one the Israel Democracy Institute arrived at.
Miri Regev herself changed her mind about WoW once she saw how they acted last Rosh Chodesh, that they wanted to make a scene instead of praying.
She told me this directly at the Kotel when I spoke to her, and it was written about on the news as well.
I doubt the Israeli public would express the same support for the Women of the Wall if they heard both sides of the story.
And, as a WoW supporter in Haaretz recently wrote ( in their lame attempt to do a character assasination on me)…
Frankly, the vast majority of Israeli women have little interest in joining a women’s prayer group and praying at the Wall, and even fewer have a desire to don a tallit and tefillin. They are either too traditional or too secular to want to join in their activities, and while they follow the ongoing controversy in the news, few feel it affects their everyday lives.
In other words, most Israelis simply couldn’t care less about what happens at the Kotel, as its a place that doesn’t hold much meaning to them, or they care about the Kotel and care about tradition there.
If you actually asked those polled “If the Kotel was run as you want it to be run, how often would you go there?” and if their answer was “For Army Ceremonies only” or “Less than once a year”, you’d get even more different answers.
Loaded questions give loaded answers, and trying to pass off this poll by a very biased institute as “proof” of why WoW should get their way at the Kotel at the expense of everyone else… is just incorrect.
*The Israeli Democracy Institute claims to be bipartisan, but they’re firm supporters of WoW. In their vision, they laud pluralism, the same banner that WoW waves. Therefore, highly biased group, and it is only reasonable that they got the answers they were looking for- because they asked loaded questions.
And people accused me of asking loaded questions when I surveyed people on the streets of Jerusalem. At least I admitted that my survey wasn’t scientific, but that the IDI and WoW are trying to pass off that survey as scientificly accurate is a laugh.