Major-General Aharon Franco
Photo: Gil Yohanan

J'lem Police chief: Haredi riots likely to ease during holidays

Major-General Aharon Franco hopes dispute with ultra-Orthodox community over opening of parking lot in capital on Shabbat will be solved soon; says his forces foiled over 10 terror attacks, increased deployment across city in past year

Jerusalem District Police Commander Major-General Aharon Franco estimated Wednesday that the ultra-Orthodox community's protests against the opening of the capital's Karta parking lot on Shabbat were likely to simmer down during the High Holidays.


"I hope we can use this time to find a solution. The parking lot serves a security need and it will remain open," he said during a Rosh Hashana toast held at the capital's police headquarters.


Reviewing the past months' demonstrations, Franco said that so far, some 200 ultra-Orthodox protestors have been arrested and 30 police officers injured.


More than 4,000 officers were deployed in the area during the riots, and the district police chief said charges would be brought against violent rioters.


Franco also reviewed the recent cases which have caused the haredi community to erupt, naming the parking lot dispute, the case involving the haredi mother accused of starving her toddler son and the case involving the attempted removal of a murdered man's body from the crime scene, as the three major caused of the latest series of riots.


The capital's police forces, he said, followed protocol in every one of these instances.


Heightened alert, mass deployment

Turning his attention to other security matters, Franco said that over the past few months Jerusalem's police thwarted over 10 terror attacks, including attempts made against security forces stationed in checkpoint surrounding the city.


"We see the city as being under constant, year-round threat," he said, adding that the Jerusalem bypass is expected to be finished by the end of the year, with the exception of a three-mile stretch still debated by the High Court.


The removal of several West Bank checkpoints, he continued, requires the police to be extra vigilant.


Speaking of the series of bulldozer attacks in the capital, Franco said they were not affiliated with any specific organization: "We've drawn the necessary conclusions. It's hard to stop such incident, which involve a lone perpetrator and we know the response time is critical.


"(The attacks) led to a change in the nature of deployment in the city. It is vast and includes 'blue' police officers, Border Guard officers and Highway Police officers in order to avoid a situation in which something happens and there is no one there to take action.


"We've also increased training and upgraded weapons, so nowadays everyone carries M-16 rifles." 


פרסום ראשון: 09.16.09, 18:13
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