Please let me state several opinions regarding the arrest of the members of the women’s prayer group at the Kotel (“Furor over Frishman’s fringes,” December 28).
First of all, the arrest was overkill. The police could have escorted these women over to Robinson’s Arch where they could have conducted any religious service they wanted legally. The arrest gave these women the victim status they so richly wanted.
Secondly, just like the other Jewish holy places in Israel, the Kotel is an Orthodox synagogue. The reason is that one quarter of the Jews are Orthodox and less than 1 percent are either Conservative or Reform. Even most of the remaining 75 percent prefer an Orthodox synagogue and Orthodox ritual when they observe. Hence acts such as the wearing of a tallis or the reading of the Torah are correctly perceived as a thumb in their eye by Orthodox Jews or an act of American Jewish cultural imperialism by non-Orthodox Israelis. The women doing this are not budding Rosa Parks but rude tourists.
After having said this, I do believe that non-Orthodox Jews should have better place at the Kotel rather than Robinson’s Arch. However, the way to do that is to have dialogue with the Orthodox both in Israel and in the diaspora, not the commission of unilateral acts.