A group of religious ultra-Orthodox extremists on Tuesday staged a protest in the Haredi settlement of Modi'in Illit, urging the locals not to follow the government guidelines meant to combat the spread of coronavirus. A brawl broke out at the scene between the protestors and some local residents who demanded the extremists leave the area.
The protest was staged by the Jerusalem Faction, an especially radical ultra-Orthodox community, which is notorious for its altercations with authorities and its unwillingness to adhere to state directives. Many within the faction identify as anti-Zionists.
The group of protesters carried banners and shouted through a loud speaker that Jews should not adhere to the Health Ministry's directives meant to combat COVID-19. On Tuesday evening Israel is set to be put under a nationwide lockdown for the holiday of Passover.
"Help, Judaism is in danger,” the demonstrators shouted, while waving banners, urging others to ignore the rules.
The footage from the incident shows the extremists are then assaulted and chasedaway by another other residents, who slammed them for defying state-ordered social distancing rules.
In the meantime, police raided the "Proshim" synagogue in the Haredi city of Beit Shemesh and arrested several ultra-Orthodox parishioners who were praying inside the building in violation of the Health Ministry's directives.
"Police officers have located a synagogue in Beit Shemesh that operated in violation of the public health orders, "said the police in a statement.
"Fines of NIS 500 were imposed on each person [except minors] as well as NIS 5,000 [on the individual who ran the synagogue] for violating Health Ministry directives. In addition, police arrested a suspect who spat at a Border Police officer, and who was brought for further questioning for the crime of assaulting a police officer."