Police officers were pelted with stones Tuesday morning as they arrived at an independent Haredi school in Beit Shemesh that was open despite the government-mandated closure of all academic institutions during the current lockdown.
The volunteer police officer who was accompanying the law enforcement officials fired his gun into the air outside the Talmud Torah school in the Belz community.
Israel Police said the volunteer fired into the air as he believed his life was in danger. There were no casualties in the incident and police reinforcements were called to the scene.
According to the police, as the police officer was trying to locate the director of the educational institution, a crowd began to gather around the volunteer who was standing next to their car and began hurling stones at him.
The police officers left the scene without being able to have the school closed.
An ultra-Orthodox witness said he rushed to the school after hearing the shooting and was "shocked" to see live ammunition being used by police.
"This is crossing a red line; the police went too far today," he said.
"Beit Shemesh has already known far more tumultuous and violent demonstrations than this small, spontaneous protest and yet such a thing has never happened, not here nor in any other confrontation between the ultra-Orthodox and the police. Firing live bullets in the air? And even worse against children? This is a very serious thing and we simply cannot comprehend how it happened here."
Israel entered a full lockdown last week in an effort to bring down the worrying rise in coronavirus cases but some radical factions in the Haredi sector have refused to adhere to government orders, illegally reopening schools and staging mass events.
There have been several instances of clashes between police forces and residents of ultra-Orthodox communities in recent days as officers sought to enforce the lockdown regulations.
On Monday, 10 people were arrested followed clashes in Ashdod between police and ultra-Orthodox protesters as officers shut down a yeshiva that was operating in violation of lockdown orders.
Protesters rioted and blocked roads police said, while Ashdod municipality said rioters "attacked the municipal security with stones and sticks."
Three policemen were lightly injured and treated at the scene.