'Seculars will be held accountable.' Protest in J'lem
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg
J'lem: Haredim protest 'Shabbat desecration,' call police 'Nazis'
Dozens of extreme ultra-Orthodox demonstrate against opening of parking lot on Shabbat, hurl insults at passing secular women

Some 200 ultra-Orthodox demonstrated on Saturday near Jerusalem's Mea Shea neighborhood against the opening of the Karta parking lot, located near the Old City's Jaffa Gate, on Shabbat.


During the weekly demonstration, haredim attempted to block Nevi'im Street and clashed with police. Some of them chanted "Shabbos" and called police officers "Nazis."


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The haredim also vented their anger at a number of secular women. "That is not how a Jewish woman dresses," they yelled at one of the women, while another was called a "shiksa (non-Jewish woman)." One of the protesters also threw a soda can at one of the secular women.


During the demonstration, haredim threw stones at passing vehicles and spat on their windshields.


"שאבעס"! שוטר מול מפגינים, היום בירושלים (צילום: אוהד צויגנברג)

Saturday's protest in Jerusalem (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


The ultra-Orthodox, from the extreme Eda Haredit faction, say keeping the Karta parking lot open on Saturday's constitutes a desecration of the Sabbath. They regularly try to block traffic during the protests.


Over the past few weeks, residents of the nearby Mamilla neighborhood and activists from the Israel Hofshit (Be Free Israel) organization have been staging counter-protests in the area.


"Over the past few years a small group of radical haredim, consisting mostly of bored teens, has been trying to disrupt the daily routine of seculars in the area. We urge the sane majority to join us," one of the activists said during last week's demonstration, during which three haredim were arrested.


One of the ultra-Orthodox protesters said, "All of the seculars who are standing here and laughing will be held accountable."


Oren Farid, a resident of the neighborhood, said "we do not have a problem with the haredim protesting here; we have a problem with the blocking of roads, the spitting and stone-throwing. Today was the first time during this round of protests that police managed to prevent the blocking of the road."



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