Protestors arrested by police
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov

Dozens of haredim arrested near Ashkelon hospital

After detaining 25 ultra-Orthodox men for attacking officers, rioting in protest of relocation of graves in favor of new emergency room, police arrest 15 additional suspects for setting fire to fallow land near Shikma Prison. Forty protestors arrested in Jaffa

About 40 ultra-Orthodox men protesting against the relocation of graves near the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon have been arrested since Sunday morning. Some of them were taken to the Kiryat Gat Magistrate's Court, where their remand was extended on suspicion of rioting and assaulting police officers.


Dozens of haredim were detained for questioning and released shortly afterwards.


At the same time, haredi men protested at the Andromeda Hill area in Jaffa against infrastructure work taking place there. According to the police, 40 people were detained for questioning on suspicion of holding an illegal protest, rioting and assaulting policemen.


The most serious incident took place at around 2 pm, when 15 men were arrested on suspicion of setting fire to fallow land near the Shikma Prison in Ashkelon. Firefighters dispatched to the area managed to put out the fire.


According to the police, the arsonists put human life in danger in the entire northern industrial zone of the city and nearly caused a disaster.


The group members arrived on a bus from Jerusalem and allegedly set the land on fire while waiting at a roadblock. The fire spread quickly due to the hot and dry weather.


Detainees turn back on judge

Seventeen of the 40 haredim arrested in Ashkelon on Sunday were brought before the Kiryat Gat Magistrate's Court for a remand hearing, but began singing and turned their back on Judge Ariel Hazak. He asked them to stop, and when they refused they were removed form the courtroom. The judge ruled that 16 of them would remain in custody until Thursday.


The haredi detainees, who were brought to the courtroom by bus, refused to identify themselves, apart from one who said his name was Chaim Wallenstein.

Detainees in court (Photo: Roee Idan)


Attorney Eli Buskila, who was appointed by the Public Defender's Office, told the court: "They are refusing to cooperate with us and I am not sure we can represent a person who won't even say if he wants representation."


Nonetheless, the judge decided to appoint Attorney Buskila as the suspects' representative.

Haredim protesting in Jaffa as well (Photo: Dudu Azoulay)


Police forces have been on a heightened state of alert in the area since Saturday night, and are expecting the arrival of additional protestors.


Workers from the Israel Antiquities Authority began moving the tombs at around 9:30 am on Sunday. The human bones were put in cardboard boxes and handed over to the officials at the Ministry for Religious Affairs, who will bury them in an alternative site. The digging of the entire gravesite is expected to be complete by Sunday night.


Tova Dadon and Yoav Zitun contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.16.10, 16:57
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