A downed eiruv vandalized with a sticker reading "Coercers go home" found in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: OFFICE OF JERUSALEM CHIEF RABBI ARYEH STERN)
The lines of two eruvs – ritual demarcation lines for the Sabbath – were cut last Shabbat in an apparent attack by nonreligious vandals.
The lines in the city eruv and that of one of the neighborhood eruvs surrounding Bayit Vegan, Kiryat Hayovel, Ramat Sharett, Ein Kerem and other areas of the western part of Jerusalem were found after last Shabbat to have been severed in several places.
There are several neighborhood eruvs which are designed as a back-up should the main city eruv be damaged.
An eruv is a continuous demarcation line, in many cases a series of poles supporting a wire, which encircles a community and according to Jewish law makes carrying and transporting objects in the public domain on Shabbat permissible, where without such a system such activity would be forbidden.
In addition, stickers with the messages “Secular Ramat Sharrett” and “Coercers go home” were stuck to some of the eruv poles.
According to the office of Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Aryeh Stern, this is not the first time this particular neighborhood eruv has been damaged, but it is the first time that both the city and neighborhood eruvs have been damaged together.
The fact that both of them were cut means that tens of thousands of religious Jewish residents in these neighborhoods unknowingly violated the Sabbath last week.
Stern spoke to the Jerusalem District police commander by phone about the incident and sent him a letter calling on the police to prevent such attacks and identify and punish those who have committed them.
If the integrity of the eruv is in doubt, “this damage severely harms the majority of the city’s residents who cannot have a normal Shabbat,” said Stern.
The police said the complaint has been received and an investigation has been opened.