Wave of arrests in Mea She’arim may dampen protests

By MELANIE LIDMAN
December 2, 2011 03:27

Three US citizens arrested during demonstration against passing Mount Meron to Tourism Ministry.

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haredi praying on Mount Meron

haredi praying on Mount Meron. (photo credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner)

Jerusalem police have cracked down on violent demonstrations in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She’arim over the past few days, leading to the arrest of nine people accused of disturbing the peace, many of whom are originally American.

Three Americans were arrested on Wednesday night on Shivtei Israel Street during a demonstration against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to put Mount Meron under the auspices of the Tourism Ministry, rather than the yeshiva that was previously operating the site. About 100 haredi protesters were in attendance.

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Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said that the nine people arrested will be indicted in the next few days, and police will ask that the Americans be deported.

On Wednesday, protesters threw rocks at a border police jeep and an Egged Bus, smashing the windshield of the jeep.

There were no injuries. The six other people arrested in the past few days were arrested at similar demonstrations that turned violent.

Ben-Ruby said the police were preparing for possible riots in response to the indictment on Thursday of a central figure in the extremist “Sikrikim” sect, Yosef Meir Hazan.

Still, he credited the wave of arrests for weakening the protests.

“We have already seen a decrease in violence,” he said.


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