Tempering off?
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin

Haredi leader: Keep protest to Mea Shearim

Orthodox Righteous Court of Law publishes instruction ahead of community's weekend protests against opening of Jerusalem parking lots on Shabbat. Decree includes bid for demonstrators to remain within ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods

Is Jerusalem's haredi community tempering its protest against the opening of parking lots on Shabbat? Community leader Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss has apparently ordered his disciples to limit their protests to the capital's Mea Shearim neighborhood.


Mass riots have plagued the capital over the past few weeks, as haredi crowds protested the City's decision to open the Safra and Karta parking lots during Shabbat.


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The rallies took place across for the controversial venues, but Rabbi Weiss now decreed that they must be kept within Mea Shearim.


The Orthodox Righteous Court of Law published its instructions for the coming weekend's protests Thursday, but unlike previous weeks – when the court urged orderly conduct and non-violent protest – the decree also ordered protestors to remain within the circumference of the haredi neighborhoods.


An ultra-Orthodox source denied that the fight for the sanctity of Shabbat was tempering off in any way, stressing the decree was meant to signal Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat that the community is willing to simmer down if he only agrees to keep the parking lots closed on the weekends.


Barakt's associates said the mayor has no intention of backing down: "The mayor stands by his decision. He is committed to public safety and to police instruction. Some 500 cars have parked in the Karta lot since it has been reopened on Shabbat, leaving the way to Jaffa Gate – which is a police emergency route – open."


Sources in the Jerusalem Police described the week's riots as an escalation in the level of violence, the amount of people and the attempts to block streets.


Nevertheless, at this time, they added, the police have no intention of ordering Barkat to close the Karta parking lot.


פרסום ראשון: 09.04.09, 08:10
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