A spiritual visit by the US vice-president, Mike Pence, to Jerusalem’s Western Wall has been overshadowed after female journalists were forced to stand behind their male counterparts in a fenced-off area.
While women and men are separated by the ultra-Orthodox Jewish authority that runs the plaza, both sexes are normally able to look into each other’s section. During previous visits by Donald Trump and Barack Obama, sexes were divided although female reporters and photographers were afforded an unobstructed view.
Following decades of outrage over segregation in which men have a more extensive area and women are not permitted to read aloud from the Torah, the Israeli government agreed in 2016 for a multi-sex space to be opened.
But following pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties last summer, the cabinet of the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, suspended the plan.
Pence has also been accused of sexist double standards in the past, reportedly not dining alone with women and insisting only male aides assist him when he works late.