MK Yisrael Eichler of the haredi UTJ party caused a firestorm of indignation at the Knesset Monday when he compared the Women of the Wall (WoW) to the Islamist murabitat – the women whose job it is to scream and shout at Jews who ascend the Temple Mount.
He spoke at a session of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
"The murabitat women receive money from the Islamic Movement to create provocations and keep Jews from ascending the Temple Mount," he said, "whereas the Women of the Wall get money from the Reform Jews to create disturbances at the Western Wall."
Leftist-feminist MKs Zehava Galon (Meretz) and Shelly Yechimovich (Labor) immediately denounced and rebuked Eichler with great fervor.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also expressed his displeasure with the comparison. Eichler responded by saying, "this does not bind you, I had to say these things so that they would be recorded in the minutes."
WoW have been waging a years-long campaign to challenge normative Jewish practices and halakha (Jewish law) at the Kotel, as well as breaking longtime tradition and customs at the holy site, by conducting Torah readings in the women's section.
The group holds a monthly prayer-protest at the start of each Hebrew month. They recently said they would stop trying to smuggle Torah scrolls into the plaza until the security situation calms down, so as not to overload the police there.