Egged bus (Archive photo)
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Jerusalem riots
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Beit Shemesh: Haredim stone 'non-kosher' buses

Dozens of ultra-Orthodox men gather near Jerusalem, throw stones at buses in which there is no separation between men and women. One driver lightly injured, other forced to fire in the air in order to get away from rioters

Dozens of ultra-Orthodox men hurled stones Sunday evening at Egged buses in the town of Beit Shemesh, near Jerusalem, protesting the fact that the buses were "not kosher" (did not separate between men and women).


One driver was lightly injured, while another driver was forced to fire shots in the air in order to get away from the rioters.


The injured driver was treated by Magen David Adom crews, and following the incident buses stopped passing through the area.


Earlier, another Egged driver was lightly injured as Haredim stoned his bus.


Dozens of ultra-Orthodox men blocked the road for bus traffic. A bus and an Egged supervision vehicle who tried to drive through the crowd were stoned with stones and eggs. One of the vehicles suffered damage.


The protest in Beit Shemesh is part of an ongoing battle between residents of the Menuha Venahala neighborhood and the Egged bus company. Many of the residents living in the neighborhood are affiliated with extreme factions in the ultra-Orthodox public, and have demanded to operate "kosher" lines in the area.


About two weeks ago, Egged began operating such a line at the neighborhood, but it failed to meet the strict modesty demands of certain elements in the neighborhood.


In the "kosher" lines, men sit in the front and women in the back. The women get on the bus from the back door and the bus driver is not allowed to put on the radio.


Meanwhile, the police were preparing for another wave of riots Sunday evening following the decision on whether to hold the gay pride parade in Jerusalem on Friday. On Sunday evening, senior police officials met with Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to discuss whether to allow the parade to be held as planned.


Wave of protest

On Saturday evening, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox men flocked to the streets of Jerusalem and burned everything they could get their hands on. They hurled stones at police officer, lightly injuring at least one policeman.


"The Nazis are coming, run!" was the catchphrase of the night, with haredi youths warning each other in Yiddish of advancing police officers trying to restore order to central Jerusalem.


The Shabat Square was yet again the staging area for Saturday's riots as Israel's ultra orthodox community takes its protest of the upcoming pride parade up a notch. Haredim set fire to large garbage containers and bus stops, uprooted a traffic light, threw firecrackers and rocks at inter-city traffic along routes 1 and 4, damaged several police cars by stretched metal cables across streets and pelting them with rocks.


Neta Sela contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 11.05.06, 18:00
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