A man holds up a Torah scroll as women stand across a fence at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem's old city, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The rabbi of Judaism's holiest prayer site has backed a proposal to establish a prayer section for mixed-gender worship, a groundbreaking motion that could end a decades-old fight against Orthodox monopoly of the area. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police have detained five women while praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem for performing religious rituals that ultra-Orthodox Jews say are reserved for men.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says about 120 woman arrived for their monthly prayer service Thursday and five were detained for wearing prayer shawls.
The arrests come a day after Israeli authorities proposed a compromise to diffuse tensions over their services by establishing a new section at the site where men and women can pray together.
The Western Wall, believed to be the only remaining part of the biblical Temple compound, is the holiest site where Jews can pray. It is currently divided into men's and women's sections. Orthodox rabbis, who control Israel's religious institutions, oppose mixed prayers.
The new proposal still needs government approval.