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Israel

Landmark Women's Prayers At Jerusalem Western Wall Marred By Violent Protests, Arrests

HAARETZ, JERUSALEM POST (Israel)

Worldcrunch

JERUSALEM – Police on Friday arrested five ultra-Orthodox Jewish men who tried to disrupt prayers by female Jewish activists at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem District Court recently ruled women were allowed to wear prayer shawls during their monthly service, reports Haaretz.

The Women of the Wall activists had been asking form more than 20 years to be allowed to pray at the site while wearing prayers shawls and reading from Torah scrolls.

Their prayer service was disturbed by at least a thousand Haredi ultra-Orthodox protesters on Friday morning.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Haredi protesters spat on the three daughters of Rabbi Susan Silverman – sister of comedian Sarah Silverman – as water bottles, eggs and rocks were thrown onto the praying activists.

Rabbi Silverman told reporters that Haredi protesters represented “a fundamentalism and a belief in a single and very narrow view of god that I believe is idolatrous.”

Women of the Wall prayer at Jerusalem's Western Wall

Two police officers suffered minor injuries in the hustle.

Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister for Religious Affairs Naftali Bennet to find a fair compromise between the religious groups: “I ask everyone: please leave the Western Wall out of any dispute,” he said, reports Haaretz.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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