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Final preparations in Emmanuel Photo: Rotem Malenky
Final preparations in Emmanuel Photo: Rotem Malenky
 
Police chief: Special units deployed Photo: Ohad Zoigenberg
Police chief: Special units deployed Photo: Ohad Zoigenberg
 
 

Police prepare for haredi riots

Ultra-Orthodox community organizes giant protest against jailing of Emmanuel parents who refused to withdraw school policy deemed racist by court. Police plan to deploy hundreds of officers in Jerusalem, religious hubs

Shmulik Grossman
Published: 06.17.10, 00:39 / Israel News

Some 10,000 police officers are preparing to deploy Thursday throughout Israel beginning in the early morning hours in preparation for what haredim have dubbed "the mother of all protests".

 

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The ultra-Orthodox protestors plan to take to the streets tomorrow to demonstrate against a High Court of Justice decision to detain parents who refuse to withdraw what the court deemed a discriminatory policy from an Emmanuel school which their girls attend.

 

Police believe the protests will begin in Jerusalem in the morning and then move on to cities such as Bnei Brak during the day. Groups in Beit Shemesh have also announced their intention to protest.

 

A central demonstration is scheduled for Yirmiyahu Street in Jerusalem, at 1:30 pm, and police expect around 30,000 people to attend. Dozens of officers will deploy at roads leading to the capital and within it to direct traffic.

 

Many protestors will arrive by bus, and the detained parents will also be transported to holding cells in Jerusalem by bus. At around 3 pm protestors are expected to gather in the area of the holding cells for a giant rally, and at 5 pm the parents will enclose themselves within the cells.

 

After this the couples will be separated and the men will be taken to Maasiyahu Prison while the women head off to Neve Tirza Prison. Dozens of officers will secure their passage.

 

'Such cooperation doesn't often happen'

Police Commissioner Dudi Cohen held a meeting on Wednesday evening in which preparations for the next day were discussed. Ynet was told that police would deploy many special units, such as officers on horseback and special forces equipped with riot dispersal equipment, in case riots broke out. Police also said they would supervise vehicles belonging to rabbis.

 

Cohen warned Wednesday that the issue was "sensitive", and that "all publicly-elected officials and rabbis would do well to show responsibility and tone down any remark that could cause unnecessary escalation of violence".

 

Haredim are also preparing for the big day, with parents gathering at an Emmanuel school for a final consultation late Wednesday evening. In addition, efforts have been made to secure foster homes for children of jail-bound parents for the two weeks in which they will remain in prison.

 

The haredim have also set up a control room on Peres Street in Jerusalem, where the large rally will be organized. "Such cooperation doesn't happen often. The split Jewish orthodox community has united, and this was our reward from what the court has caused," Jerusalem City Councilman Rabbi Yosef Deitsch told Ynet.

 

Preparations also included the printing of flyers and coordination of rescue services on call for the big event. "This hurts us. We are educated to study and carry out what is written in the Torah," Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush told Ynet.

 

Councilman Deitsch added that Sephardic girls had been allowed to attend the school at the heart of the protest. "The court did not discuss the core of the issue, but rather the racial wave and in this case it is not racial, it is religious. It is a fact that people named Elmaliach, Abutbul, and Biton study at the school, so how can it be racist?" he asked.

 

Ronen Medzini contributed to this report

 

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