In an interview with Rachel Avraham, Women for the Wall Co-Founder Ronit Peskin denied the accusation that her organization and the journalists who spoke out against Women of the Wall are responsible for the graffiti targeting Women of the Wall board member Peggy Cidor.

Graffiti found at the home of a Woman of the Wall board member

Graffiti found at the home of a Woman of the Wall board member Photo Credit: Facebook

Haaretz reported yesterday that graffiti was sprayed on the home of Peggy Cidor, a board member for the Women of the Wall organization.  The graffiti read, “Peggy, watch out” and “Women of the Wall are villains.”   Before a police investigation has determined who the culprits are, Shira Pruce, spokeswoman for Women of the Wall, told Haaretz that the journalists and bloggers who recently exposed the connections between their leadership and anti-Israel organizations are responsible for the graffiti.  

 “The connection is clear – incitement and false claims attacking Women of the Wall and their board members in the media directly cause a real, physical threat and danger to the lives of the women,” Shira Pruce stated. “We hold those who have been disseminating lies about Women of the Wall and our leaders responsible for this rise in tensions.”  However, on their facebook page, Women of the Wall made other accusations: “The bad press is initiated and disseminated by Women for the Wall and their colleagues.  It is time for them and for the others to take responsibility for their words and actions, which incited at least one crazy person to attack a woman at her home.”  

 In light of the renewed tensions, Mark McQuillen offered to mediate between Women of the Wall and Women for the Wall.   Women for the Wall co-founder Ronit Peskin responded that she was happy to attend a mediated session, while Shira Pruce stated: “No I am not happy and I am not to going to do this.  Ronit and her colleagues have spent the last month attacking Women of the Wall’s leaders in the media- now claiming that we are anti-Israel and anti-Orthodox. Finally this morning, we see the “fruits” of Women for the Wall and Jonathan Rosenblum’s efforts- one person was crazy and committed enough to that messaging to attack one of my leaders at her home. It is time for Ronit to take responsibility for her actions and words before someone gets hurt.”

Women for the Wall Co-Founder Ronit Peskin

Women for the Wall Co-Founder Ronit Peskin Photo Credit: Facebook

Women of the Wall incites violence via false accusations 

 Following these events, in an interview with Jerusalem Online News last night, Ronit Peskin stated: “The fact that the same organization, Women for the Wall, that put itself in physical harms way to stop violence against Women of the Wall members is accused of instigating violence is a miscarriage of justice.   We are an organization committed to traditional Jewish prayers and values at the Kotel.   Traditional Jewish values imply loving and respecting every one, even those with whom we disagree.   On the other hand, Women of the Wall has incited violence and egged on non-peaceful protesters, at the very same time Women for the Wall are trying to calm down those protesters.  We have this on video.”

 Peskin claims that her efforts to pacify protesters at the Kotel have brought about good results: “We’ve been so successful in calming down protesters that this past Rosh Hodesh was the most peaceful one yet, according to all news reports.  We view this as a testament to our success in propagating the message of peaceful coexistence at the Kotel between all Jewish denominations, as well as peaceful relations within the community in general.”

 Meanwhile, Peskin noted the absurdity in the fact that Women of the Wall has accused her organization, as well as right wing bloggers and journalists of inciting hatred and violence while Women of the Wall is “inciting violence via false accusations against Orthodox Jews, as well as right wing bloggers and journalists.”  She stressed: “Making conclusions about who is responsible for the graffiti is premature before the police investigation discovers who placed graffiti at the home.   A few months ago, the Chief Rabbi and the Rav of the Kotel, as well as a few other people,  got death threats signed by Women of the Wall.  When this happened, Women of the Wall claimed that they were being framed.  It is ironic that now the tables are turned and they are accusing others, when in reality the graffiti was signed anonymously and could have been any one.”

 However, Peskin does not see any connection between the recent media coverage demonstrating the connections between the Women of the Wall’s leadership and anti-Israel groups to the graffiti attack: “It could have been someone with a personal grudge against Peggy, rather than someone prompted by the leaderships connections to anti-Israel groups, especially given the fact that she was never mentioned in JPOST, Arutz Sheva, Times of Israel, Front Page Magazine, the Jewish Press or any of the other news organizations that wrote about the connections between Women of the Wall and anti-Israel groups.  Furthermore, she is a relatively unknown board member of Women of the Wall, who is not really mentioned in any media about the organization.   This undermines the argument that the recent news articles exposing the Women of the Wall’s leadership to anti-Israel groups has something to do with the graffiti.”

 Peskin was critical of the fact that Women of the Wall continues to insist that their leaderships links to anti-Israel organizations are lies: “If there truly were no links between certain Women of the Wall leaders and anti-Israel groups, then why don’t they just refute the charges instead of engaging in slander and libel against those who publicize these verifiable facts?  And if they can’t refute it, meaning that their leadership truly holds such views, then why are they so upset about letting their views be public knowledge?  If there is a problem with the views of Women of the Wall leadership, perhaps they need new leadership that doesn’t have this anti-Israel connection.”

 She concluded by noting the irony of the situation: “Women of the Wall constantly accuses of Women for the Wall of inciting hate against them, yet they and their board members constantly write articles slandering Orthodox Jews, Women for the Wall, and others that oppose them.   On the other hand, Women for the Wall ensures not to slander others.   We only publish verifiable facts and quotes about Women of the Wall, and delete hate speech from any one on our facebook page.”