haredi protest 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Marking 100 weeks since the Jerusalem Municipality opened the Karta parking lot
near the Jaffa Gate on Shabbat, the Eda Haredit group will hold a demonstration
on Saturday to protest the desecration of the Jewish day of rest.
rallies have been held regularly for two years, but unlike the average weekend
demonstration of a few dozen young men, this week activists hope to draw
hundreds or even thousands of members of the anti-Zionist group, due to the
announced participation of the head of Rabbi David Kahn, head of the Mea
She’arimbased Toldot Aharon hassidic sect.
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Fate would have it that this
week’s Torah portion is “Pinchas,” about the high priest famous for turning the
wrath of God away from the children of Israel “while he was zealous for my sake
among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy.” (Numbers
25) This motif of religious fanaticism – Pinchas killed two sinners in the midst
of their sinful act, bringing an end to a plague that took the lives of 24,000
Israelites – is noted in the ads placed in the Eda Haredit newspaper HaEda
well as in those plastered around the haredi areas of Jerusalem.
posters also stress, however, that the demonstration will only be half an hour
long, after which all attendants will peacefully disperse, and forbids them to
“engage in any acts of violence or throwing things.”
The Eda Haredit will
even have officers from its ranks supervising so that things do not get out of
hand. And the rally will not take place at the disputed parking lot, rather
within Mea She’arim, with a march leaving the Eda Haredit headquarters at the
Zupnick lot, and proceeding to Rehov Hanevi’im.
The editorial of HaEda
that expounds upon the significance of 100 weeks of demonstrations as proof of
the group’s determination, also takes the ultra-Orthodox councilmen to task for
“telling [the evil Mayor Nir Barkat],” who seeks to turn Jerusalem into Tel
Aviv, that he could open the parking lot, explaining to Barkat that “it won’t be
long and the voices of protest will subside and end. They thought all haredim
were like them and got used to wrongdoings in return for satisfying their
avarice and yearn for jobs of deputy mayors and chairmen,” the Eda Haredit wrote
of the United Torah Judaism representatives at city hall.
just serve the interests of the extremists on both sides,” Rabbi Shmuel
Pappenheim of the Eda Haredit said of the large demonstration
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post
on Thursday, Pappenheim, who in
the past was editor- in-chief of HaEda, noted such elements from both within the
Eda Haredit – such as Yoelish Krois, its unofficial “operations officer” who
openly declares his desire to see secular Jews leave the city and is a lively
force in the weekly demonstrations – and from the secular end, such as the Be
Free Israel group, that has in recent weeks demonstrated at nearby Rehov
Hanevi’im to ensure it remains open on Shabbat.
Last week, secular
protesters arrived in clown garb. They say police are not doing enough to ensure
the freedom of passage on that route from haredi blockage and stones. It is the
last main artery open in the area now that Jaffa Road has been closed in favor
of the light rail due to start operations on August 19.
ultra-Orthodox demonstration will be held on Rehov Hanevi’im due to the presence
of summertime tourists in immodest dress near the Karta garage, Pappenheim said.
To expose the young Eda Haredit men to such spectacles would be
counterproductive, he said.
As for the demonstration at whole, “We don’t
want to appear as Yoelish Krois people. On the other hand, if the head of
the Eda Haredit Rabbinic Court, Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, tells us to go and
demonstrate, we do,” he said.
Krois was arrested on Wednesday morning on
charges of tax evasion, and he is under house arrest in Bnei Brak. Police deny
any connection between the planned weekend protest and his detention, which was
over a 10-year alleged misdemeanor involving Krois’s fowl
Pappenheim said it was Weiss who decided to keep the
weekly demonstrations going, but apparently the initiative of Kahn to have a
larger one this weekend, and now the Toldot Aharon leadership is anxious to
ensure that the event will pass peacefully and they won’t be held accountable
for any escalation that increases Shabbat desecration.
away the theory according to which the Eda Haredit intensifies its
demonstrations against the secular elements of the city and the state in the
summer, since that is when members of the Israeli hassidic sects make the trip
to the United States to raise money from wealthy members of the groups for the
next year, and photos of haredim confronting police over the sanctity of Shabbat
help open wealthy Jewish anti- Zionist pockets.
“All kinds of academics
try to find reasons and make theories to explain things,” he said.
the truth of the matter is that most of our money-raising trips take place in
the winter. Nobody is in New York now, it's vacation time,” he said.
“They’re all in the Catskills.”