Thursday, July 16, 2009

Still more riots in Jerusalem!

I'm listening to the reports tonight on Reshet Bet about the renewed riots tonight in Jerusalem. Apparently, there are thousands of Haredi rioters on Rte. 1 in the Bet Yisrael neighborhood throwing rocks and attacking police. Many have been arrested. Ten police have been injured by the rioters. The reporter speaking now on Reshet Bet mentions a big demonstration on Zaks St. in the Shmuel ha-Navi neighborhood, as well as speeches in Yiddish by rabbis speaking now in Kikar Shabbat telling the Haredim not to give up.

According to an article on the Hebrew Ynet page, the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, is involving himself in the conflict, contacting the Jerusalem municipality, the police, and the Haredim, in an effort to calm tempers.

Jerusalem Police Chief Cmdr. Aharon Franco said Thursday evening that over the past day there "was a marked escalation" in the rioting of haredim in Jerusalem, warning that the level of violence was rising, "both towards municipal workers and towards public infrastructure."

Franco, who was speaking in a press conference, directed some veiled criticism at the government for failing to find a solution to the incessant friction between the extremist elements in the haredi community and the police. "We're talking about a capital city and not enough has been done on the national level in order to calm down the situation," he said.

Warning of further dangers that could arise due to the rioting, Franco said, "They've dismantled traffic lights, and without traffic lights deadly accidents could take place. They've disconnected systems in electricity poles and people could be electrocuted.

"I have not found a single place in the Bible where it is written that these actions are permissible," he added.
According to Haaretz, Franco also criticized the leaders of the Haredi community for not doing anything to cool the tempers of the rioters.
"There is not one sane voice within the Haredi community that will rise up and cry out against this phenomenon," Franco said. "They have rabbis, they have leadership, and I haven't heard the rabbis or sages crying out."
For those curious to know exactly where today's rioting occurred, Haaretz has helpfully put up links to Google maps.

The rabbi of the Toldos Aron group (to which the woman arrested for abusing her son belongs) announced today at a demonstration in Kikar Shabbat that the members of his group should continue fighting the woman's arrest "until the last drop of blood."

I just discovered a blog called Shearim, whose author is a woman who lives in Jerusalem and is fascinated by Hasidim and goes to many Hasidic events, although she is apparently not Haredi herself. Her blog describes many visits to the Toldos Aron synagogue and other Toldos Aron events.

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