haredi bus 'mehadrim bus' _311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Jerusalem Municipality was forced to disqualify the local election for
community council in the ultra-Orthodox Mea She’arim neighborhood on Tuesday,
after extremists stormed into the counting room and destroyed some of the
A new election will be held at a later date, the municipality
decided on Thursday following the recommendations of the judge overseeing the
Mea She’arim shop accedes to vandalist demands
Wave of arrests in Mea She’arim may dampen protests
Jerusalem police chief Nisso Shaham announced on Thursday that
a special police investigation would be conducted into the incident, and
supported the municipality’s decision to invalidate the results.
13,000 residents of Jerusalem took part in local elections to choose
representatives for the community councils in four neighborhoods. Approximately
17 percent of eligible residents voted in the neighborhoods of Gilo, Greater
Baka, South/Katamon and the Bukharim Quarter, which includes Mea
The low turnout was expected as it is the first year that these
communities can vote for their local council.
The Bukharim Quarter
elections were tense, with local rabbis threatening to enforce gender separation
at the polls in the days leading up to the vote.
A strong undercover
police presence ensured that no gender separation took place and voting went
peacefully for most of the day. However, at the very end of the night,
extremists stormed into the voting station in the Mea Shaarim
Shouting “Women, get out!” a group of haredi men forced the
women to leave and tore up the voting slips, according to a video from Channel
“The municipality condemns every incident of violence, and the attempt
to influence the elections is not the democratic approach,” said a spokeswoman
Haredi media said that the protest was more likely due to a
competition between two candidates rather than an attempt to exclude women from
The community councils are made up of nine elected members and
six appointed members and deal with local issues such as cultural events,
education and ensuring that the municipality carries out
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat renewed the election process for
community councils last year, and each year four or five neighborhoods are
expected to elect a new council.
Election organizers in the Bukharim
Quarter told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that both of the female candidates
had dropped out of the election due to concern over the “lack of modesty”
involved in campaigning.
They called on the municipality to find an
alternative way to allow women to take part in the community council leadership.