Jerusalem Flavors Festival 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The beer taps in the plaza behind the Hurva Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of
Jerusalem’s Old City stood untended in protective plastic wrapping late Thursday
night, as the five-day Jerusalem Old City Flavors Festival wound down not only to
the live sounds of Andalusian-jazz fusion, but also to the dissonance and
high-pitched tones of protest.
Weeks before the festival began, the Chief
Rabbinate’s kashrut division and prominent rabbis objected the fact that the
festival would include non-kosher food served in the eateries spread out among
the Old City’s quarters. The municipality refused to back down, and the festival
began on Sunday as planned, with non-kosher food stands clearly marked to
Chief Rabbinate issues warning over kashrut problems
The opening in the Jewish quarter was marked by the
presence of religious protesters, who recited psalms.
According to a
proprietor who wished to remain anonymous, haredi elements brought soiled,
reeking diapers on the first night in a bid to keep people away. Another person
involved in the event said that electric cables were cut.
everything they could to get the people away, and damaged the proprietors’
income,” he said, referring to haredim.
An agreement said to have been
reached between police and the local haredi leadership led to the prohibition of
alcohol sales in the Jewish quarter during the festival. In addition, women
reportedly were not allowed to sing as part of the live performances, and even
the recorded background music was solely of male voices. The municipality would
neither confirm nor deny such an understanding.
There were stands selling
alcohol at the Jaffa Gate, and on Tuesday MK Ibrahim Sarsour (UAL) wrote a
letter of protest to the prime minister and interior minister following
complaints that Arab youths had been drinking and then entering nearby
Longtime Jewish Quarter resident Ephraim Holtzberg, who was
active in the efforts to prevent the festival from taking place for kashrut
reasons, stressed that this was not solely a religious struggle.
and foremost, this is a noise disturbance for residents, including old people
and families with young children,” he told The Jerusalem Post at City Hall on
Thursday during a city council meeting that reached high and dissonant tones
during a discussion of the festival.
“Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat is
trying to turn the Old City into Disneyland,” Holtzberg charged. “We want the
minimal rights of a residential neighborhood, such as the right to sleep at