Police detained ten women Monday in Israel for wearing religious garb reserved for men only. The Associated Press reports Susan Silverman, and her teenage daughter, were among the women held in custody. Susan is a Rabbi in Jerusalem, as well as the sister of comedian Sarah Silverman.
Sarah wrote on Facebook that she was proud of her sister and niece for their “civil disobedience.” The group were detained while attempting to pray at the Western Wall, a holy site in Judaism. A spokesman for the police, Micky Rosenfeld, says they were detained due to regulations that ban women from wearing prayer shawls while worshiping at the Western Wall, which could offend Orthodox Jewish visitors. Several hours later, they were released.
The women belong to a liberal group called “Women of the Wall,” that makes the journey to the Western Wall monthly. The group has been doing this for 25 years, but only recently have they been detained by police.
Anat Hoffman, the group’s chair, believes the fact that none of the women detained have ever been charged with a crime speaks volumes. “They want the group to become frightened,” she says.
Hoffman, herself, was arrested in December, which caused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to order the Jewish Agency to figure out a solution that would allow non-Orthodox women to visit the site for prayer.