Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Israeli Police Arrest Shofar Blower At Kotel--Almost 80 Years After The British Did

During the 1920's the British forbade Jews to blow the shofar for fear of offending Moslems. Apparently Israel has adopted the same approach. On Sunday a man blowing the Shofar during the Silent Shmoneh Esreh--in accordance with the Sefardi custom--was arrested at the Kotel, as reported by Arutz Sheva.

This comes at a time that Jews living on a main thoroughfare in the Old City has been told they are limited to when they can leave their homes during Ramadan.

Beyond just stopping the blowing of the Shofar, there are also charges of excessive police violence during the incident as well, with conflicting stories as to exactly what happened, according to Arutz Sheva's followup report.

As to why the police came in the first place, there is an unconfirmed report that the incident was sparked by the complaint of a Moslem woman:
The worshipers said that the police had apparently been called by an Arab woman who said the sound of the ram's horn disturbed her children.

A Jewish resident of the Old City told Arutz-7, "How ironic. The loud Arab weddings and nightly prayers by the muazzin [over a powerful loudspeaker] at 4:30 AM disturb our sleep every night." Similar complaints are heard from Jews living near Arab villages in Judea and Samaria.
In 1929, Moshe Segal was arrested by the British for blowing the shofar--and was later released through the intervention of Rav Kook.

There is an excerpt from Rabbi Segal's memoirs describing the incident here.

Did Moslems around the world get the idea of demanding special privelege based on the concessions Israel made--and continues to make--for local Arab religious practices?

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