New York, NY, October 19, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said it was disturbed by reports of the harsh treatment of Anat Hoffman, a veteran Israeli activist, following her arrest by police by the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
According to her own account of the incident, Ms. Hoffman was arrested after saying the “Sh’ma” prayer aloud in the presence of 200 women attendees of the Hadassah centennial conference. In interviews with the news media, Ms. Hoffman, a longtime leader of the “Women of the Wall” organization, described in detail the degrading and physically punishing treatment she was allegedly subjected to by the police at the time of her arrest and while in custody.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
The reports of the treatment of Ms. Hoffman are disturbing. There is a longstanding difference between the rabbinic authorities who oversee the Western Wall and the Women of the Wall as to women’s prayer. Ms. Hoffman has been protesting restrictions on women’s prayer at the Western Wall for many years. Having been arrested several times in the past for the manner in which she prays at the Western Wall, Ms. Hoffman certainly understands that she may be subjected to arrest.
If the reports are accurate then, whatever one’s view of the prayer rules which led to her arrest, there is certainly no justification for the mistreatment of Ms. Hoffman by the police. Such treatment does not serve the religious authorities, law enforcement or Israeli society.