(JTA) – Haredi Orthodox protesters burned a Jewish prayer book near the Western Wall in Jerusalem on Friday to protest the monthly prayer service there by female worshippers.
The incident occurred as nearly 200 Women of the Wall activists arrived for the service in celebration of the beginning of the Hebrew month of Av. Several thousand haredi protesters greeted them with booing and shouting.
The haredim and other conservatives oppose the group’s singing and, at times, use of prayer shawls, kippahs and Torah scrolls, which are reserved for men in Orthodox Judaism. Some of the protesters set fire to a prayer book bearing the group’s logo, Arutz 7 reported.
They “laughed with pleasure as a WOW participant burned herself trying to salvage it,” the group said in a statement.
According to the Foundation of the Heritage of the Western Wall, which administers religious services there, Women of the Wall declined to pray at a space allocated to them for this purposes, “triggering serious disturbances.”