Police over the weekend cracked down on a number of illegally-run synagogues in the ultra-Orthodox communities of Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, leading to several violent clashes.
In Bnei Brak, officers shut down two illegal synagogues on Saturday, operated out of yeshivas while the students are away on holidays. One of the synagogues was run by the fanatical Jerusalemite faction inside the prestigious Ponevezh Yeshiva.
Around two dozen parishioners that were inside during the raid were fined NIS 500, while the yeshiva's administrators received NIS 5,000 penalties.
The sect is known for its civil disobedience and frequent clashes with security forces over conscription as well as state and religious affairs.
Officers also raided two mass gatherings in the area, celebrating the Sukkot holiday, one organized by a confirmed virus carrier and another, a Tish (a gathering of Hasidim around their Rebbe), organized by the Zotshka Hasidic Dynasty.
A total of 22 illegally operated prayer houses were closed by the police in Bnei Brak, with dozens of fines handed out to local businesses and residents for violating lockdown rules.
In Jerusalem, a police car was pelted with stones by locals during a routine patrol in Shivtei Yisrael Street.
In the capital's predominately ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood, many synagogues operated as usual with complete disregard for health regulations. Some synagogues placed Hasidim "guards" outside, in order to warn the locals when the police are in the area.
"There is no entrance for those not from the community," a Breslav follower from the neighborhood told Ynet. "The police were here but ran away. There is a Tish every Saturday," he brazenly claimed.
"Most of the people here already had coronavirus, including me. Every night there will be an event here, and whoever takes out a phone to take a picture will be jumped on."