Suspected bus memorial vandals released to house arrest

Damage done a day before haredi mob pickets J’lem burger joint for selling hametz on Pessah.

bus 18 memorial 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post)
bus 18 memorial 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post)
The last two of five haredi men who were arrested over the weekend on suspicion of vandalizing a Jerusalem monument were released to house arrest on Monday night, police said.
Late Saturday night, police saw the group of men uprooting the monument, which sits on the corner of Jaffa and Nordau streets near the central bus station and was built as a memorial for the victims of a February 1996 bombing attack on the No. 18 bus.
While the group succeeded in removing the monument from the sidewalk, the memorial plaque that lists the names of those killed in the attack was not damaged, and the monument was returned to its place.
Both the suspects released on Monday, and the other three suspects, who were released to house arrest on Sunday evening, refused to explain their actions to investigators.
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court released the final two suspects on condition that they be banished from the capital for 30 days and refrain from participating in protests for half a year.
Police said that indictments have been issued against all of the suspects.
Meanwhile Sunday, a group of some 70 haredi men demonstrated outside of Iwo Burger on Jerusalem’s Hillel Street, because the eatery sells leavened bread, or hametz, during Pessah.
The demonstration, which was dispersed peacefully, marks the third year in a row that the burger restaurant has been targeted during the holiday.
Police arrived and began dispersing the protesters after they preventedemployees from entering the restaurant and tore down signs.
Under Israel’s Hametz Law, merchants are not permitted to display a hametz product for sale in public.
A judge in 2007 ruled that the burger restaurant, as well as fourothers, did not violate the law by selling hametz since it was doneinside the establishments and was not visible from the street.

JTA contributed to this report.