Photo: Shimon Israel
Flag incident
Photo: Shimon Israel
Interior Ministry (archives)
Photo: Jonathan Tzur

Ultra-Orthodox attack man carrying Israeli flag in Jerusalem

Dozens of Neturei Karta members try to assault man marching with flag near haredi neighborhood; man rescued unharmed by plainclothes police officers. In Beersheba, Bedouins cause public disturbance during Remembrance Day siren

A Jewish man carrying an Israel flag was attacked Wednesday morning by members of the Neturei Karta group in Jerusalem. The man was rescued unharmed by plainclothes police officers.


Every year, in light of previous similar incidents, a plainclothes police force is deployed in the capital's sensitive ultra-Orthodox area throughout Remembrance Day and Independence Day.


Several minutes before the siren honoring Israel's fallen soldiers was sounded, a man in his 50s arrived at the Shabbat Square near the Meah Shearim neighborhood. He was wearing a skullcap and carrying a flag of Israel. Shortly afterwards, dozens of haredim gathered around him and tried to assault him, chanting slogans against Zionism.


A number of police officers deployed in the area who tried to rescue the man were also attacked by the haredim. In response, the police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, but did not arrest any of those involved in the incident. There were no reports of injuries.

Protest in Jerusalem on Wednesday (Photo: AFP) 


Yossi, one of the Neturei Karta members, claimed that "the man arrived in order to provoke us. We wanted to take his flag away, and suddenly two undercover detectives arrived and began beating us. They sprayed tear gas on the demonstrators' faces, including on an elderly person."


Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski strongly condemned the incident. "This despised incident of attacking a man carrying an Israel flag in Jerusalem must be harshly condemned, and particularly in a day bearing such a deep meaning."


Bedouins laugh, eat during siren

In Beersheba, workers at the Interior Ministry's Population Directorate office in were astonished Wednesday morning by the behavior of a number of Bedouin residents during the siren.


According to the workers, although the Bedouins were asked to remain silent during the siren, they laughed, ate and spitefully walked around the office.


Following the incident, the office's manager Itzik Kikos recommended that the offices be closed on memorial days in order to prevent what he defined as the workers' "humiliation."


Kikos told Ynet, "We knew that such a thing could happen, so we asked them to keep quiet for the two minutes of the siren, but they didn’t listen to us and made a lot of noise. We felt that they were looking at us as if nothing interests them – not the State, not the bereavement and not the flag.


Members of the Bedioun community were also amazed by the incident. Rahat Mayor Talal Al-Krenawi told Ynet, "Those who shout and create a public disturbance during the siren, while people remember those who lost their lives, are parasites and irresponsible people.


"It's a shame that hooligans are destroying the reputation of the Bedouin sector, which honors Remembrance Day and stands during the siren. Let us not forget that there are also fallen soldiers from the Bedouin sector. The bereavement is part of all of us," he added.


Neta Sela and Yonat Atlas contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.07.08, 15:18
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