Women 'insulted' as American Vice President Mike Pence visits Jerusalem's Western Wall

Women 'insulted' as American Vice President Mike Pence visits Jerusalem's Western Wall
"Western Wall rules" were used to separate male and female journalists covering Vice-President Pence, sparking outrage amongst reporters.
2 min read
23 January, 2018
VP Mike Pence touching the Western Wall [Getty]
US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Western Wall on Tuesday amidst escalating tensions over President Donald Trump’s December decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Wearing a Jewish skullcap, Pence approached the wall and placed a small white note of prayers in its cracks.

Reporters covering the event were highly critical of "Western Wall rules" that had separated men from women. 

Washington Post reporter Jenna Johnson tweeted a video showing front-row spots exclusively given to males.

Initially, female journalists accompanying Pence were sent to a fenced area behind the Western Wall. But following outrage White House personnel allowed female journalists to stand atop chairs to view the event.

"This discriminatroy attitude towards women is infuriating and inappropriate in a modern country," Globes reporter Tal Schneider told Haaretz

In March the evangelical Pence attracted controversy after a Washington Post article revealed the vice-president never dines alone with a woman who is not his wife.

Today’s Western Wall visit, on Pence’s final day in the Middle East, was yet another crisis in an already-controversial trip.

During a high-profile Monday speech to the Knesset announcing plans to speed up the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem – by the end of 2019 – several Arab lawmakers raised signs that said "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine" before being forcibly removed from the premises.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to meet with Pence during his trip and Palestinians observed a general strike on Tuesday, shuttering shops, public transport, banks and much of the public sector.

Fatah official Jamal Muheisen told the Voice of Palestine that the strike marks "the beginning of our popular peaceful struggle" against the Jerusalem decision.

Jerusalem remains a central dispute in the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict - Trump’s December announcement was a rebuke of longstanding US policy and international consensus that the city’s status should be decided in future negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian leaders have pre-emptively rejected any peace proposal floated by the Trump administration.