Monday, May 20, 2013
Vicious graffiti sprayed on home of Women of the Wall board member
JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jerusalem home of a long-time board member of the Women of the Wall was spray painted with vicious graffiti.
Some of the graffiti sprayed on the door and stairwell of Peggy Cidor’s apartment read in Hebrew: “Women of the Wall are wicked,” “Peggy, your time is up,” “Peggy, we know where you live,” and “Jerusalem is holy,” according to the Women of the Wall.
The words “Torah tag” also were spray painted on the door of the apartment, calling to mind the phrase “price tag” used by extremist settlers and their supporters to describe retribution in the form of vandalism for settlement freezes and demolitions or Palestinian attacks on Jews.
It is the first time that such an incident has happened to Cidor, who has served on the board of Women of the Wall for the last 15 years. Police are investigating the incident.
The Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinowitz, condemned the graffiti in a statement released to the media and called on “all fanatic groups to remove their hands from this holy place.”
“I have warned against the conflagration and gratuitous hatred. I pray and hope we can check the escalation and that a solution will be found that allows the Western Wall to remain not as a disputed area but as holy grounds that unites and unifies,” he said.
The Women of the Wall in a statement called on haredi Orthodox rabbis to condemn the attack.
“This was likely the actions of bored youth, acting in response to the incitement of their leaders. The real problem facing Israeli society is not what they did but what the leadership of the Haredi public will do now. The writing is on the wall. We call on the rabbis to staunchly condemn the vandalism and to end all incitement against Women of the Wall, without regard to the legitimate public discourse,” the group said.
The Women of the Wall’s May 10th prayer service for the Hebrew month of Iyar was mobbed by haredi Orthodox women and men. The women required police protection, but were still attacked by men throwing chairs, stink bombs and garbage. It was the first time the women held their monthly service following the ruling of a Jerusalem District Court judge that said the group’s services do not violate the law and merit police protection rather than arrests.
In previous months women had been arrested for wearing prayer shawls during the service because police said the practice contravened the site’s “local custom.”
Women of the Wall has held a prayer service at the holy site almost every month for the past two decades, according to the group. The service is held on Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the new Hebrew month, at the back of the women’s section.