Jerusalem haredim scale back Shabbat violence

Community leaders had called on protesters in recent days to refrain from resorting to violence.

haredi shabbat riot 248 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
haredi shabbat riot 248
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Violent demonstrations staged by Jerusalem's haredi community in recent weeks were scaled back Friday and Saturday, due in part to last week's orders from the Eda Haredit against blocking roads, throwing rocks, spitting or taking protests beyond the religious neighborhoods. While several cars and individuals that passed near religious neighborhoods were peppered with stones and water bottles from a gathering of about 2,500 haredim, there were no violent confrontations with police. "In general things were relatively quiet in comparison to other weekends," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post Saturday night. In contrast, last weekend hundreds of haredim violently protested the opening of the Carta parking lot on Shabbat. Police arrested more than 150 haredim during recent protests, drafted nearly 1,000 personnel from around the nation, and employed measures including stun grenades, pepper gas, special riot units, cavalry units and fired warning rounds of live ammunition. On Wednesday, Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, who is the head of the Eda Haredit's rabbinical court, ordered followers to avoid violence and the participation of children in the demonstrations. The rabbi also instructed followers not to leave haredi neighborhoods to participate in the confrontations. The use of violence "severely hurts the battle for the sanctity of the Shabbat," said Weiss. Despite the orders from the haredi leadership, security personnel maintained a strong presence and could be seen dressed in full riot gear throughout Saturday night.