Thousands of Bnei Brak students return to school despite lockdown

Parents in the predominantly ultra-orthodox city say they have no choice but to follow orders of senior rabbis, while teachers hurl insults at police and reporters; police car also attacked with stones in a Haredi neighborhood in Jerusalem

Itay Blumenthal|
Hours after the government extended the coronavirus lockdown until the end of the month, thousands of students in Bnei Brak were seen on Wednesday morning making their way to schools, yeshivas and seminars.
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  • Police presence in the streets was also noticeably low after a day earlier the forces were bolstered following an illegal mass wedding in the city.
    2 View gallery
    ילדים הולכים לחינוך החרדי בבני ברק
    ילדים הולכים לחינוך החרדי בבני ברק
    Children in Bnei Brak heading to school
    In the early morning hours, many children, mostly from the Hasidic sect, were seen heading to various educational facilities in the predominantly-Haredi town. In the ultra-Orthodox seminar for girls located at Shlomo HaMelech Street, hundreds of female students were seen entering the building without any interruption.
    "What do the rabbis tell us to do," said a mother escorting her daughter to school. "We do not ask questions. Whatever Gedolei Yisrael (a term used for senior rabbis) tell us - we do: 'You shall do according to what they tell you.'"
    Bnei Brak schools remain open despite lockdown and high coronavirus morbidity
    One of the teachers interrupted the reporter's conversation with the parent and began hurling insults. "May your name be damned, burn in the flames of hell. Heretic," he said.
    The boys' seminar located nearby was also operating as usual. "Go away you fiend," yelled one of the teachers there when we the reporters got closer.
    2 View gallery
    הרכב שנפגע
    הרכב שנפגע
    The damaged police car in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Israel Police)
    In Jerusalem, police officers were attacked with stones during a follow up on a report that people were violating restrictions in the Haredi neighborhood of Ezrat Torah.
    When they arrived, residents began hurling rocks at them, breaking the car's windshield and wounding one of the officers, who was evacuated to the hospital to receive further medical attention.
    (Video: Israel Police)
    On Tuesday, police raided a wedding attended by dozens of people in the capital, located at a school gymnasium converted into an event hall in the city's predominantly-Haredi Ramat Shlomo neighborhood.
    On Monday, officers also raided the Darag Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, where a wedding attended by nearly 300 people, took place.
    Footage of the event showed hundreds of people not practicing social distancing or wearing face masks, in complete violation of public health orders.

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