Haredi hametz protest crumbles

Only a few hundred people arrive in Jerusalem's Shabbat Square to demonstrate against court ruling.

haredi protest 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
haredi protest 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The thousands of protesters expected to flock to Mea She'arim on Tuesday to demonstrate against a recent Supreme Court ruling that the sale of hametz (leavened products) during Pessah is legal crumbled, with only a few hundred people arriving in the neighborhood's Shabbat Square. Rabbis present at the event, organized by Edah Haredit, thundered against the court's decision. "Hametz on Pessah will bring about the destruction of Jerusalem... [This] stupidity will ruin Jerusalem, and if we don't protest against the [sale of] hametz during Pessah, we will lose Jerusalem," Rabbi Amram Hoffman told the crowd. Rabbi Yitzhak Tuviya Weiss, head of the haredi Badatz, compared those who consume hametz during Pessah to the haggada's evil son and said, "We need to speak for ourselves. For the first time, after 60 years of having a state, [the court] makes laws that hurt the soft underbelly of the people of Israel." The assembly ended without violence. Across the street, a counter-demonstration by Jerusalem residents who supported allowing the sale of hametz during the holiday drew only about a dozen protesters. "I protest their wish to limit my freedom. This is an important fight, because the haredim threaten not just this freedom, but also all of my freedoms as a citizen in a democratic state. I will protest each time they protest against something that is meaningful to me," protester Yiftah said. - S.P.