... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)

20
June
2013

In the news: The Western Wall and women's rights in Israel

The Western Wall in Jerusalem is the most holiest site of prayer to the Haredim, that is the ultra-orthodox Jews. The Jewish organization the Women of the Wall reached the news headlines while campaigning for an egalitarian space of prayer at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. They took their case on this issue to court and …

… they won the case. To the campaigners the space for prayer assigned to women at the wall isn't acceptable. They don't value this segregation of men and women. They also want equal rights for women when it comes to the use of religious garment for prayer which are up to now by tradition reserved to men, specifically those of the orthodox Jewish community. 

It is practice by the Israeli people to have separated groups of women and men when it comes to certain social participation and religious gatherings. Did this so called segregation – a word mostly applied in the negative sense – attributed to the discrimination of women in Israel to the extend of deterring them from achieving certain goals in their society? 

In our modern time, Israel is the third country in the world that had a woman as prime minister. Golda Meir was elected as such to lead the Israeli government in 1969. In comparison, the United States - where the leader and several of the women of the Women of the Wall are from - still doesn't have a woman as president to lead the government. And Europe had their first woman leader, Margaret Thatcher of the Conservative Party, much later in 1979. When it comes to defending their country, the Israeli women have been doing their part within a defense force that has an advanced women participation compared to that of the United States. Which is at the moment still considered a super power by many, but obviously with less girl power than Israel. 

When we look at the Jewish recorded history up to their modern history, women were and still are well represented. When God Almighty sent Moses and Aaron - Micah 6:4 - to lead his people, he also sent their sister Miriam. Israel has one of the first woman rulers and worrier ever recorded in world history, being Deborah – Judges 4 and 5 - whom was also a prophetess and judge. Also Jael at whose hands a king, one of Israel's enemies, died. Still, at the time of Moses God made it very clear how he would want the Israelites, including the women, to get things done when it came to war fare - Numbers 32 - and even the sons of the priests had to go to the battle field. This passage still stands to today for all Israelites!

The Israeli matriarchs are mentioned by name through their history – so are several prophetesses – and they are to this day still honoured. And which people had women's rights on the inheritance of their father arranged by law - Numbers 27 and 36, the daughters of Zelophehad - in history as early as the time of Moses. Or arranged for their daughters to inherit as Job did in his time, Job 42:7-17?

This ages old tradition of separate spaces for men and women - present already at the time of the exodus out of Egypt and much later still visible at the Temple with a separate space for men and women - in general has not been an impediment for Israeli women when it comes to their achievements in society.

So I ask, why is this issue an issue at all? Do the Israeli women all of a sudden have an identity crisis? Why all this fuse and so much media coverage on this non-issue? This organization just wants to improve equality for Israeli women of faith? But, the above mentioned shows that in this context the segregation – the Women of the Wall being themselves an example of such – doesn't necessarily lead to discrimination. Could it be this group of women or those backing them have another goal, a hidden agenda? Where there is a hidden agenda, there is also at least one hidden bag of money to endorse it.  

If so, what could it be? Having women in more prominent positions within the Jewish religious community just like is being done within for example Christianity is a possibility. But, there are already women Rabbis. Are the activities of this organization ultimately meant to set a stage to change the Jewish Priesthood, which is reserved only to men? But, the Jewish Priesthood meant for the temple service of the Tabernacle and later of the Temple in Jerusalem - Numbers 3:5-15 - and to teach the true knowledge of God to others - Malachi 2:5-7 - is reserved for men by God's choice. This is in accordance to his Law given to Moses for the Israelites and not based on dogmas nor traditions. The members of the Priesthood do bare a huge responsibility as far as God is concerned and getting this wrong does have serious consequences them and the land of Israel. As Malachi 1:6-14 and 2:1-9 makes clear.

Another matter that should be of importance to these Jewish religious leaders is, that to God it's unacceptable that his Laws as written down in the Torah should be discarded in favour of ancestral traditions - Isaiah 29:13-16 and Matthew 15:1-9 - as has been happening to this day. As Yeshua said,
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have n o t come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called g r e a t in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:17-19 (NIV)

So, changing the Priesthood in the name of equality or whatever else is absolutely not an option! Surely women of faith as the Women of the Wall claim to be understand this. Don't they?
As for praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, there are other options. Such as the one Salomon mentioned - 1 Kings 8:22-61 - which is praying in the direction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Or do as the statesman and prophet Daniel did. He opened a window. But this would not give any one a news headline. Would it?

God bless you,


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