Jaffa was the site of one of the most violent clashes between police and
in recent memory Wednesday, as hundreds of haredim took to the streets
predominantly Muslim neighborhood of Ajami, throwing rocks and bottles
setting trash cans alight to protest a construction project they say
disturb Jewish remains.
Five police officers were injured in the melee,
as were two cameramen, one of whom was struck in the head by a blunt
wielded by a rioter.
Barzilai riots in Jerusalem: NIS 1 million
In addition, an Israel Radio reporter was forced to
seek protection from the mob inside a police van.
The rioters repeatedly
yelled “Nazis!” “Hitler” and “Eichmann” at police officers, and on a few
occasions hurled racial slurs at darkskinned officers. Police repeatedly
force to push and control the demonstrators, who blocked the streets of
and attacked dozens of officers.
Police made at least 15 arrests during
the disturbances, which were attended by head of the Edah Haredit’s
court Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, who encouraged the rioters and led a curse
against workers at the
dig, set to be the site of a luxury residential project.
demonstration began outside the project, on the corner of Yefet and
Pasteur streets, before police pushed it down to the intersection of
Teachers at the St. Michael’s School on the corner of Yehuda
Margoza locked students inside the school long after class was let out,
for the disturbances to subside so pupils could go home safely.
who said the demonstration was illegal, maintained a strong presence,
dozens of officers from the border patrol and the YASSAM riot police
well as mounted officers and plainclothes police who circled the crowd
isolate the leaders of the disturbance.
Throughout the riots, a police
helicopter hovered above and a water cannon truck sat ready to disperse
crowds if things got out of hand.
Eventually, the protesters moved along
and the remaining ones were picked up by a series of buses at a public
further down Yefet Street.
One demonstrator, who referred to himself
simply as “a Jew,” said “the digging poses a threat to the entire State
Israel. That could be your grandfather’s grave.”
The protester added that
“in Israel, they respect graves of all religions, and especially Arab
Only when it’s Jewish graves do they say it’s ok to dig.
treating us like goyim [non-Jews] would,” a different protester
The riots came only a few days after hundreds of haredim
protested near the site. Following the disturbances, the Israel
Authority reported that an excavation of late-Ottoman period buildings
ransacked by vandals, causing irreversible damage.