Women arrested praying at Western Wall

April 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM

JERUSALEM, April 11 (UPI) -- Five women were arrested Thursday morning as they prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem for wearing prayer shawls traditionally used only by men.

About 200 women attended a Rosh Hodesh prayer service, a monthly celebration of the new moon, the Jerusalem Post reported. The group arrested included Lesley Sachs, head of Women of the Wall.

Women of the Wall has been protesting for the right to wear prayer shawls, pray and read out from the Torah collectively at one of the holiest Jewish sites, the remains of the Second Temple.

The women were released a few hours after their arrest, Haaretz reported. A magistrate did not impose a restraining order that would have barred them from returning to the wall.

Natan Sharansky, head of the Jewish Agency, said the arrests show the need for compromise so the wall can once again be "a symbol of unity among the Jewish people, and not one of discord and strife," the Post said.

The women were detained under rules imposed by an ultra-Orthodox rabbi. Sharansky put forward a compromise this week that would have set aside space where women could pray and that would be open to all Jews, whether Orthodox, Conservative or Reform.

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