New Clash Erupts at Western Wall

From Reuters

Israeli police threw tear-gas bombs to disperse ultra-Orthodox protesters at the Western Wall on Monday after the black-garbed Jews threw chairs at women praying at the Jewish shrine, witnesses said.

A group of ultra-Orthodox Hasidic men tried to block about 50 women of the more lenient Jewish Reform movement who came to pray at the wall on the eve of the Purim holiday, which celebrates the victory of the Jews of ancient Persia in foiling a plot to destroy them about 2,000 years ago.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews oppose Reform women conducting prayers traditionally done only by men. They sparked a scuffle several months ago when women carrying Torah scrolls tried to pray at the wall, believed by Jews to be part of the retaining wall of the ancient Jewish temple.

The women finished praying Monday near a gate about 500 yards from the wall.