Police forces clashed with hundreds of Ultra-Orthodox rioters in Jerusalem, who tried to resist the municipality-ordered destruction of a dangerously built Sukkah, a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot - in one of the city’s Haredi neighborhoods.
The clashes began early Sunday, after some 200 police officers entered Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim and Beit Israel neighborhoods in order to protect the municipal officials who came to dismantle a Sukkah built on scaffolding 12 meters high on Beit Israel’s Sonnefeld street.
Upon the forces’ arrival, they encountered streets blocked by trash bins that were set on fire , dozens of protesters huddled inside and around the dangerous construct, as well as hundreds of rioters who proceeded to throw stones and garbage bags at the officers.
Israel Police Jerusalem District Commander Doron Turgeman arrived on the scene to supervise his forces' actions.
Police said they assisted the Jerusalem municipality, "in accordance with the law and subject to a court decision, and due to the danger to human life and public safety [that the Sukkah posed].”
“The Sukkah was built at a height on scaffolding and poses a real risk to life and property, disrupts movement on the road bellow, and endangers the public who come to the medical center on the site,” the police added.
“We have been in dialogue with owners of the structure in recent days, with the aim of bringing about its dismantling without the need for law enforcement intervention," police said in a statement.
The Jerusalem municipality said that the sukkah blocked part of the street and caused a severe disruption to traffic.
“The construction and the huge sukkah balcony above it were built without a permit and posed a real threat to the safety of the balcony users, pedestrians, nearby businesses, the nearby HMO branch, children in the neighborhood, cars traveling nearby and every passerby,” the municipality added.
The clash in came a week after the Jerusalem Municipality’s first failed attempt to dismantle the Sukkah, which was met with violent resistance on part of the neighborhood's residents. Officers and municipal workers were assaulted by rioters.
Police said the sukkah owner agreed to dismantle it independently, but then filed a petition to the courts to prevent the municipality from taking any action.
The court rejected the petition and the request to delay the dismantling of the Sukkah, after it was seen to pose a threat to public safety.
First published: 11:17, 09.19.21