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Israeli Women Could Face Seven Years in Jail for Praying

The Israeli parliament yesterday
attempted to override a recent
Israeli Supreme Court decision
granting women greater religious
equality. Parliamentarians
showed support for a bill that
would ban women from wearing
prayer shawls, reading from
Torah scrolls, and participating
in other religious rituals at
Jerusalem's Western Wall, under
penalty of a seven-year jail term.
The bill aims to block last
week's Supreme Court decision
giving a women's prayer group
the right to pray at the Western
Wall, which is already divided
into women's and men's
sections. While the bill is unlikely
to become law, women's rights
activists and liberal
parliamentarians reacted strongly
to its introduction, saying it
"undermines Israel's democracy
and undercuts women's rights."
Liberal parliamentarian Naomi
Chazzan called the measure
"fundamentalist" and
"frightening," and vowed that her
party "will do everything to
prevent Israel from turning into
an Afghanistan or Iran."

Media Resources: Boston Globe - 2June, 2000



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