Israeli police held back thousands of ultra-conservative Jews who tried to drive liberal women worshippers from Judaism’s sacred Western Wall on Friday, marking a shift in the authorities’ handling of a long-running religious schism.
Ultra-Orthodox protesters dressed in traditional dark clothing threw chairs and water at the women, then later stoned their buses. Two policemen were hurt.
Previously police detained members of Women of the Wall, a group challenging the Orthodox monopoly over rites at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, for wearing prayer shawls in violation of Orthodox tradition.
This time police arrested five religious protesters instead.
The police response followed a court ruling last month that found that the group was not in violation of the law.