Haredim throw stones at buses in Beit Shemesh

Police arrest 2 ultra-orthodox protesters, 1 policeman lightly injured; haredi arrested in J'lem for cursing woman.

January 5, 2012 23:19
2 minute read.
Haredim riot in Jerusalem

haredi protest 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)


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Police on Thursday dispersed dozens of haredim (ultra-Orthodox) who were throwing stones at buses in Beit Shemesh.

Two people were arrested during the disturbance and one policeman was lightly injured when he was hit by one of the stones.

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Last week police dispersed another protest in the city which became the focus of the Israeli media after a Channel 2 report revealed haredi extremists verbally attacking an eight-year old girl for failing to dress modestly.

In a separate incident on Thursday, police arrested a haredi youth from Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood after he cursed at a young woman who passed by.

At the time of the arrest, haredim threw stones at police forces.

No injuries were reported but light damage was caused to a vehicle in the area.

Last week, Interior Minister Eli Yishai came out strongly against splitting Beit Shemesh into separate haredi and non-haredi cities, telling a haredi radio station that such a move would be disastrous for the haredim.

Netanyahu's associates confirmed the the prime minister had discussed such a possibility with Yishai but said it was just one of many alternatives considered for the city and it was unlikely to be adopted.

When speaking to mainstream media, Yishai said he opposed the split because he did not want to divide the Jewish people, but when addressing haredi listeners, his reasoning was more candid.

"When I became interior minister in 2003, there had been a recommendation to split the city and already then I said it was not the right thing to do," Yishai told the radio station Kol Barama. "It would create a haredi city lacking income, property tax and other taxes, with no industry. It's not the right thing to do."

Yishai has spoken out against haredi extremists. He revealed that he had received threats in the past from the haredi extremist Sikrikim group.

Deputy Health Minster Ya'acov Litzman also said Thursday that haredi extremists have been sending him death threats in recent months. Litzman said the threats have forced him to travel with a guard for the past four months.

Sources close to Litzman blamed the Sikrikim, which they said is responsible for inciting the recent women's exclusion phenomenon. They said that as a deputy minister, he does not automatically receive the protection given to ministers, but after receiving the threats, his protection was increased.

Gil Hofman contributed to this report

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