Despite what appeared to be hundreds of hassidim gathering at – and entering – the Belz World Center Thursday afternoon for a traditional tish celebration in honor of the Tu Bishvat minor holiday, police forces who arrived at the scene stated that they found no violations of COVID-19 violations.
A tish is a joyous hassidic celebration with the sect’s rabbi around a long table (or tish in Yiddish).
The Jerusalem Post witnessed three buses and several minibuses arriving at the Belz headquarters on Thursday afternoon in the space of just 30 minutes, while two Belz sources said that hundreds of Belz Hassidim would be attending the event from around the country, many of whom would stay for further celebrations over Shabbat.
Although the arrival of the hassidim began in the late afternoon and the event was scheduled to begin before sundown – this week at about 5:00 p.m. in Jerusalem – police personnel only arrived at the scene at around 8:00 p.m.
According to Kan News reporter Suleiman Maswadeh, three police officers waited outside the Belz center for over an hour until support arrived in the form of several dozen riot police.
The riot police force took time to assemble and finally entered the building. The police said in a statement to the Post at 22:20 p.m. that evening that “after the forces entered [the building] it became clear that there was no violation of the [COVID-19] regulations and the police left the site.”
One Belz source said many of the yeshiva students in the compound were rushed up to the women’s galleries and told to remain quiet while the police checked only the lower main hall.
The source confirmed that the police waited a considerable length of time before entering the building.