Th-Orthodox residents of Ashdod clashed with police officers on Monday after authorities closed a yeshiva that was operating in violation of lockdown orders.
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.
The police in the southern city were called to the scene by the municipal inspectors who shut down the religious school that operated illegally. Police said they arrested several protesters who rioted, blocked roads and clashed with the officers.
The Ashdod Municipalit said the rioters "attacked the municipal security forces with rocks and sticks."
In response, the Bnei Torah Movement slammed the police, refusing to take any responsibility. "The ultra-Orthodox public throughout the country is appalled to hear about the criminal attempt by the Ashdod police to shut down the Grodno Yeshiva and evict hundreds of yeshiva students," said the statement.
The movement warned if the police officers don't stand down, they will call on the entire sector to come out in protest.
"A discussion is taking place at the residence of Torah scholars at this time about the possibility of calling on the [Haredi] public from all over the country to come to Ashdod en masse and physically prevent the horrific and terrible injustice, which is the closure of the yeshiva."
The incident came a day after Ynet revealed that yeshivas in some of Jerusalem's Haredi neighborhoods reopened despite the tightening of the lockdown that saw the shuttering of the country's education system.
For instance, in the Mea Shearim neighborhood in the capital, it was "business as usual" on Sunday, with the extremist Hasidic factions that predominantly live there, refusing to obey the lockdown rules.
In addition, a mass "seven blessings" event - the heart of the Jewish wedding ceremony - was held at Mea Shearim on Saturday evening for the granddaughter of the community's leading rebbe.
The senior rabbis also called on the sector to "strive to pray outside", but did not say it was a binding instruction, which has led to illegal prayer gatherings in confined spaces in recent days.
First published: 14:10 , 01.11.21