Haredi protest against Egged (archives)
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Egged buses return to Mea Shearim

Transportation company has avoided entering Jerusalem neighborhood for past year due to violent attacks on part of haredi zealots

The Egged bus company began holding test drives in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Mea Shearim this week, after avoiding entering the area for the past year due to violent attacks on the part of ultra-Orthodox zealots.


As part of the war on the Sicarii faction, the police decided in recent weeks to bring the buses back to Mea Shearim's old alleys. About a year ago, Egged stopped traveling within the neighborhood following ongoing attacks on its buses on the part of the extreme group.


In the beginning of the week, the company sent several buses into the neighborhood to examine the reception, along with police supervision to prevent acts of violence.

אוטובוס בשכונה חרדית (צילום: עטא עוויסאת) 

Bus in haredi neighborhood (Photo: Atta Awisat)


According to an Egged source, it's no secret that the company is interested in resuming its activity in the neighborhood.


"We are waiting for the police's confirmation that no danger awaits the drivers and passengers – and then we'll gladly return. This week the police conducted a pilot and sent empty buses into the neighborhood while holding talks with local representatives to prevent any violence against the buses. In the meantime, we have seen good responses and no violence," the source said.


But Mea Shearim's residents are uncertain that the battle against the company is over. According to a source in the neighborhood, the Sicarii response is unpredictable.


"If a certain person is arrested tomorrow, they will continue harassing and vandalizing the buses. It's the easiest target," the source said. "It's just a matter of time before the violence against Egged resumes."


In the meantime, the neighborhood's poor residents are the ones hurt most by the absence of the buses, which has made their lives extremely difficult.


"In the end, the residents suffer twice – both from the police's inability to handle the violence and from the absence of transportation," one of them said this week.



פרסום ראשון: 12.08.11, 08:35
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