Ensuring Equality for Women at the Western Wall

2 August 2023

The Jerusalem Magistrate Court has ruled that security guards at the Western Wall in Jerusalem can only conduct searches for security reasons.. This means that they will be unable to prevent women affiliated with Women of the Wall from bringing Torah scrolls and other religious items into the compound. The ruling followed a lawsuit by Women of the Wall against the Western Wall Heritage Foundation for discriminatory searches by the guards, which disproportionately targeted women.

Judge Keren Miller did not cancel the prohibition against bringing Torah scrolls into the Western Wall area but ruled that the guards were only responsible for the security of the public and could not enforce the prohibition. 

Adv. Ori Narov, Director of the Legal Department of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC), who represented the Women of the Wall in this lawsuit, said, “The ruling makes unequivocally clear that the security guards are prohibited from conducting a search in order to locate Torah scrolls in the possessions, or on the bodies, of anyone at the Western Wall, including the Women of the Wall.”

Women of the Wall Chairperson, Anat Hoffman, said, “Today the court ruled de facto that the Western Wall Heritage Foundation cannot prevent the Women of the Wall from bringing Torah scrolls to the Western Wall. This is huge news for everyone who believes in equality and freedom of religion. For the first time, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation will not be able to enforce an extremist, discriminatory, and exclusionary policy against women at the Western Wall. They will no longer look around in the bags of the Women of the Wall to find a Torah scroll, as if it were a ticking bomb. We welcome the court’s important ruling. We will continue to read the Torah as we want at the Western Wall and ensure that female voices are heard at the Kotel and everywhere.”