The violence in Arad began after a secular resident hung a poster besmirching the ultra- Orthodox residents of the city..
(photo credit: TWITTER)
The ongoing tensions between secular and haredi communities in Arad broke out into physical brawls on Saturday night.
In the violence, three haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men were arrested for rolling burning tires toward the home of a man who hung a poster critical of the grand rabbi of the Gur Hassidic community and its political representative, Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman.
Tensions between secular residents and the Gur community have intensified in recent years owing to the fast growth of the Gur community and its demands for municipal resources and buildings.
The violence was sparked by a provocative poster hung by a secular resident on his house with a picture of the current Grand Rabbi of Gur Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter and bearing the message “Alter and Litzman, you have dirtied [the city], Arad is not for sale.”
The poster aroused the ire of the Gur community, and hundreds of Gur Hassidim staged a protest outside the house, facing off against secular residents resulting in brawls and scuffles.
Large numbers of police and security personnel arrived at the site to separate the sides, and arrested four protesters for disturbing the public order and attacking police personnel, in addition to the three haredim.
Litzman himself arrived at the area and spoke with the police commander, requesting that he remove the sign.
According to the Kikar Hashabbat website, the police requested that the haredi protesters disperse in return for forcing the homeowner to remove the sign.
“A red line in the bullying of the Gur Hassidim was crossed today, it began with the attempt to roll burning tires into the yard of a resident’s house and ended in attacking police officers,” wrote Arad Mayor Nisan Ben-Hamo on Facebook.
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