Raspberries. An unpleasant and sticky surprise Photo: Yaron Brener
New weapon in Mea Shearim: Raspberry syrup
What fate awaits youths who loiter in haredi neighborhood on Shabbat? Ultra-Orthodox residents of Jerusalem quarter smear sticky raspberry syrup on benches in order to deter young men and women from engaging in boisterous conversation with one another
A new initiative put together by anonymous Mea Shearim residents is making the lives of youths there just a little bit harder, and stickier. Every week, just before Shabbat comes in, raspberry syrup is smeared on all public seating areas in the neighborhood.
The campaign's objective is to prevent young men and women from sitting on the benches and engaging in conversation.
The bench smearing takes place mainly in the busy section of Malchei Yisrael Street and Shabbat Square, where dozens of young men and women gather every Saturday, which has the Eda Haredit group and Geula neighborhood council outraged.
"These are defensive moves taken by extremist residents of the neighborhood, who don't look favorably upon anything that takes place here," said Itzik, a resident of the neighborhood. According to him, the new status quo prevents residents fro sitting outside on Shabbat. Nor do they have any way of wiping the raspberry syrup from the benches.
"Furthermore, they operate inspectors on workdays who goad people to do their shopping quickly and prevent groups of young people from loitering in the streets," he added.
Those who choose to compromise and sit on the steps instead of the benches also know no rest. In recent weeks, the syrup brigades have made sure to pour syrup on the steps leading up to Mercantile Discount Bank in Shabbat Square. Young people who chose to sit on the steps were met with an unpleasant and sticky surprise.