Haredim keep threatening to strike the gay parade scheduled to take place in Jerusalem in two weeks. Most recently, Jerusalem Police Chief Maj. Gen. Ilan Franko met Sunday with Haredi leader Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss.
Franko asked to learn about the stance of Haredi rabbis who declared their intent of a 'Million Man Protest' against the parade. Police did not release details of the meeting.
A source close to the rabbi said that Weiss told Franko that he cannot promise the police chief that there won't be Haredi violence at the march.
"The rabbi declared there'd be a war over this, that we couldn't stay silent about it. We cannot give up or compromise about this," the source said.
Even an offer of compromise, that the parade be moved further from the center of the city, was rejected out of hand by the Haredim. Haredi representatives told the police chief that they intend to go "all the way" on the issue.
The Kol-Haredi telephone hotline, which supplies news updates from the Haredi sector, reported the meeting: "The meeting took place at the (spiritual leader's) house…for over half an hour. The police chief arrived to see just how serious Haredi leaders are about this march."
"Do they intend only to protest against the abomination, as is required, or do they intend to rally without restraint and with full devotion?" queried the broadcast.
"The spiritual leader was clear. We will not give up. We will not come to any dialogue or negotiation. We’re talking about our souls and our obligations to oppose such things and erase this abomination from the holy city, Jerusalem," it answered.
Kol-Haredi further reported that Franko had shown the Haredim the intended parade route, in the hopes of convincing them to stay away from areas where it would run. In response, the rabbi responded, "We're going to war on this issue."
"Not only in Jerusalem, but all over Israel, in Beit Shemesh, Ashdod and 15 junctions that will be hermetically sealed on Friday, during the abomination parade in Jerusalem," he elaborated.
According to the hotline, "we understand that Franko has the power to cancel the parade if he feels that there is a danger to human life. This is what we are trying to make him understand – there is a danger and there will be a holy war on this issue."
'Take a stick and hit them'
The Haredi counter-march is set to take place on Hillel Street, where the march is set to begin. One plan that came up in Haredi forums is to infiltrate the march with some fifty men who "don't look Haredi…who will 'blast' the parade from the inside," said a source close to Rabbi Weiss.
"He said every cop seen along the way should be beaten. After all, the police will try and stop us…so we should be prepared and bring sticks to hit them," he stated, adding "a direct order hasn't been issued, but everyone knows."
The Haredis will most likely be joined in their protests by religious group Agudat Israel. Despite pushing ninety, movement leader Menachem Porush is still active in advancing a counter-march to the rally.
In response, the Open House said "it should be noted that the march will not go through or next to residential neighborhoods, Haredi or otherwise."
"The unfortunately extremist attack-and-bargain strategy will not deter us," they insisted.
"The last few days have proven that we're not just fighting for the rights of the gay community in Jerusalem, but rather for anyone who believes in liberty and human rights. We call on the community at large to join us in our struggle."
Efrat Weiss contributed to the report