Several high-ranking members of Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim community have threatened to urge their followers to riot all over the country, if police attempt to enforce the coronavirus closure restrictions in the neighborhood.
The threat comes in the wake of increased enforcement against educational institutions violating the stringent closure, which effectively shuttered all schools throughout the country.
"If until now the police surprised us, from now on we will surprise and harass them," said a source from the Mea Shearim community, referring to the fact the Haredi community usually organizes protests with law enforcement consent.
"We will organize impromptu roadblocks without prior warning and bring thousands out to the streets. This time they won’t know what hit them,” said the source.
The source also referred to the enforcement against the Satmar Hasidic group on Wednesday, which led to clashes between rioters and the police. A policeman was hit on the head by a stone thrown at a police car and 17 people were arrested.
According to the source, the Mea Shearim communities feel that the police decided to increase enforcement "for PR purposes", in order to create a semblance of enforcement following harsh public criticism over continued violations in the ultra-Orthodox community.
"Every time the cops come in here and interfere with the students’ studies, everything stops and then continues five minutes after they leave," he said.
"So if this is the case, what justification is there for such enforcement? And why should we be the ones to suffer?"