Each year on Purim eve large crowds gather in the haredi neighborhoods, including many shababnikim – young haredi men who dropped out of their yeshiva and spend most of their time on the street.
Residents have complained that in the last two years things have been getting out of hand during the holiday, with shababnikim, usually accompanied by young women, exhibiting "provocative and unruly behavior."
The solution was ingenious: Placing stench bombs throughout the main streets in a bid to keep the crowds away from the neighborhoods. It also proved highly effective.
'Girls can't stand the smell'
Shmuel Pfenheim, a spokesman for the Haredi Community, described the phenomenon in a conversation with Ynet: "Many undisciplined young women from New York and around the world study in boarding schools in Jerusalem, and they come here and crowd together with a lot of unruly American guys."
He also explained how the stench bombs were made: "Thirty days before the holiday you take from the fisherman fish skin, heads, and various other parts that cannot be used for cooking, put them in a bottle with some water and place the bottles on rooftops under the boiling sun. On Purim eve we spread the bottles in sensitive spots."
According to Pfenheim, "The rascals can get over the stench, but the girls can't stand it."
And how do local residents cope?
"They know in advance not to go through certain streets… those who have to pass there do it quickly and without delay."
Pfenheim added that stench bombs have been used by the community in other mass events that draw unwanted youngsters, as well as in attempts to scare away "undesired residents who do undesired things." He noted that his was a Jerusalemite invention that could not be implemented in Bnei Brak "where the streets are very crowded and the stench goes up into the houses."