Hotovely writes to Board condemning attack on progressive Jews at Kotel
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Hotovely writes to Board condemning attack on progressive Jews at Kotel

Israel's ambassador to the UK speaks out against the 'horrifying attack on pluralism and tolerance committed by a small number of extremists'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, has stepped up her condemnation of those behind the attack earlier this month on women praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

In a letter sent to Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl, Hotovely described the actions of a group of Strictly-Orthodox men at the Kotel as a “horrifying attack on pluralism and tolerance committed by a small number of extremists.”

Hotovely added such actions were “not permissible” in Israel and confirmed she had passed the Board President’s letter of complaint on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.

The June 25th letter also stressed how new Israeli Security Minister Omer Bar Lev had pledged to “deal with the violence against the Women of the Wall.”

The women’s group leader Tammy Gottlieb had told Jewish News how the Charedi men, some of them children, laughed and jeered as they seized her suitcase containing 40 siddurim and proceeded to tear out the pages and trample on them.

They were heard to shout “books of heretics” and “we are obliged to burn”, even though Judaism forbids the desecration of any text containing the name of God.

The June 11 incident was reported to local police, but the Women of the Wall group says no one has been charged.

In her letter to the Board President, Hotovely added: “It is extremely important to the state of Israel that every Jewish person, irrespective of their denomination, tradition or practice, feels safe to practice their religion.

“I am proud that Israel is a tolerant and open country which facilitates and safeguards diversity in belief and practices.”

Last Sunday’s Board of Deputies plenary was attended by Israel’s ambassador to the UK.

“We definitely, definitely, definitely support every Jew to practice what he believes,” Hotovely told deputies.

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