The Vizhnitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Yisrael Hager, held a celebratory tisch gathering attended by hundreds of hassidim in the main Vizhnitz synagogue in Bnei Brak following Yom Kippur on Monday night.
The celebration was in violation of Health Ministry COVID-19 regulations.
Senior police officers arrived and escorted Hager out of the building. After they told him about the violation, he instructed his hassidim to go home.
The police fined the Vizhnitz community NIS 5,000.
Mass "tisch" celebration at Viznitz hassidic headquarters last night.— Jeremy Sharon (@jeremysharon) September 29, 2020
Police came to disperse, issued paltry (but maximum) NIS 5,000 fine. https://t.co/SWifclHMnD
Hundreds of people reportedly attended Rosh Hashanah indoor prayer services in the main Vizhnitz synagogue in violation of health regulations. Large prayer services were said to have taken place there over Yom Kippur.
Some hassidic and non-hassidic communities have not adhered strictly to Health Ministry COVID-19 regulations, including being lax regarding the wearing of masks and social distancing.
Footage emerged on Tuesday of hundreds of people in Bnei Brak congregating at bus stops without wearing masks following the end of Yom Kippur services. Young men dancing in the streets without masks also were seen.
On Monday night, the police said they had issued dozens of fines in the city against those congregating in violation of COVID-19 health regulations.
On Tuesday morning, police disbanded a prayer service in a synagogue of the Jerusalem Faction, a hard-line splinter group within the Ashkenazi non-hassidic haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community, in Modi’in Illit. Dozens of worshipers were not wearing masks or observing social distancing, the police said.
Five worshipers were arrested after refusing to identify themselves and being issued a fine. The others dispersed.
A poster on the synagogue door said the community would not cancel prayer services, would ignore the police if they entered the building and would refuse to identify themselves. The community would help pay any fine issued against any member, it said.
A Jerusalem Faction spokesperson accused the police of using their group as a scapegoat, saying they treated the Vizhnitz Hassidim more respectfully and leniently and ignored violations by the Belz Hassidim in Jerusalem for months.
“If you want war, remember one thing: The [anti-Netanyahu] protests on Balfour [Street in Jerusalem] are child’s play,” the spokesman said. “If you push us into a corner, you will face protests by the Bnei Torah [Jerusalem Faction] community across the country.”