Tiberias Haredim place effigy of secular mayor on bonfire

"It is a disgrace to Tiberias that these are [the city's] representatives."

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boys dance around a bonfire as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba'Omer in the city of Ashdod, Israel May 13, 2017 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish boys dance around a bonfire as they celebrate the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba'Omer in the city of Ashdod, Israel May 13, 2017
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Haredim in the northern city of Tiberias placed an effigy of Mayor Ron Cobi on top of a Lag Ba'omer bonfire on Wednesday with a sign reading "Die Ron Cobi," according to Srugim. Police who arrived at the scene demanded that the sign and effigy be taken off the fire.
The mayor broadcast the whole thing on Facebook, saying "the violence and bullying continues and what did they and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri think gave them the strength to believe that his blood is worthless and soon a committee will be called."
"It is a disgrace to Tiberias that these are [the city's] representatives and if this is how they are educating the next generation in Tiberias on this holy holiday, find who's responsible, because you've lost it completely, and quit immediately," Cobi continued.
 
Kobi also fumed about the decision to light fires even though the fire brigade commander forbade it with the support of the Chief Rabbinate.
Since Ron Cobi was elected to be mayor of Tiberias in October, he has been attacked by Haredim for wanting to ease restrictions legislating Shabbat observance in the city, including opening businesses on Shabbat and running public transport. This has largely been done in order to encourage tourism on Saturdays and attract secular residents, according to Srugim.
In February, Cobi allowed public transport to run in the city on Shabbat. After this, Cobi received multiple death threats, including in posters distributed throughout the city.
“Tiberias cannot pass the 30% mark for Haredim. I want Tiberias to be as it is now – 22% haredi," Cobi said in November. "I am not against haredim – no one should claim this; there was a negative campaign against me from the haredi street that I am against haredim. The campaign was against the Haredification of Tiberias from outside and against corruption."
Alon Einhorn, Jeremy Sharon and Hagay Hacohen contributed to this report.