Photo: Ilana Curiel
Secular people clashed with religious Arad residents
Photo: Ilana Curiel

Secular, religious protesters clash in Arad

Secular Arad residents demonstrate in city, objecting to perceived takeover of city by ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Gur sect; protest comes on heels of alleged attack involving burning tires thrown at building by Gur followers.

Some 200 secular protestors demonstrated in Arad Saturday night against what they view as the city growing more religious, after an incident in which burning tires were allegedly thrown by Gur Hasidim at a home where secular people live.



Confrontations at the demonstration turned violent when Gur followers arrived at the protest and police were called to the scene.


The protest turned violent Saturday night (Photo: Ilana Curiel) (Photo: Ilana Curiel)
The protest turned violent Saturday night (Photo: Ilana Curiel)


One of the Haredi protestors then spat at a female cop and others confronted the officers. Gur followers from all over Israel have made their way to Arad to paticipate.


Footage of the Arad demonstration    (צילום: סולימן אל-עמור)

Footage of the Arad demonstration


שליחה לחבר

 הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

הסרטון נשלח לחברך


הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

 קוד להטמעה:

Two secular protestors and two Haredi ones were arrested.
The heart of the conflict between the factions was discord between the city's secular residents and members of the Gur Hasidic dynasty.
This particular flame-up was brought about after Moshe, an Arad resident, hung a sign saying "Alter and Litzman, Arad is not for sale."
The sign sparking outrage from Gur followers, bearing the likeness of their leader Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter
The sign sparking outrage from Gur followers, bearing the likeness of their leader Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter


The former is a reference to current Gur leader Yaakov Aryeh Alter, whereas the latter mentions Yaakov Litzman, a Gur follower and current minister of health.


The Gur followers were outraged by their leader's name and photo appearing on the sign, sparking the alleged tire attack.


The Arad resident who hung the controversial sign recounted the event. "Burning tires were thrown at my wife," he said. "We put them out, and they started coming in droves. We hung the sign because they're putting up signs against the mayor, so we paid them back in kind. We'll take down ours when they take down theirs."


He went on to say the perpetrators of the attack have not yet been arrested, only called in to testify. "I believe it will be handled," he remarked. "They're an extremist group. If their rabbi was arrested the whole thing would crumble, as they only do what he tells them to."


This event is part of a larger conflict in Arad, with the Hasidim claiming the secular people in the city are restricting their lifestyles while the municipality isn't providing the community with the public funds they deserve.


Police were alerted to the protest when it turned violent (Photo: Suleiman al-Amur) (Photo: Suleiman al-Amur)
Police were alerted to the protest when it turned violent (Photo: Suleiman al-Amur)


The secular segment of the city's populace, on the other hand, claim members of the ultra-Orthodox sect wish to take over public buildings and fear they intend to change the city's character.


Arad Mayor Nisan Ben-Hamo arrived at the protest. "Once again the Gur thuggery crosses the line," he said. "They came to the home of a resident of the city who put up a sign, as they themselves have done with their own political messages. They congregated there and started attacking both police and residents. This is crossing a red line. This is the face of the sect. This madness has to stop. A minority in this city cannot dictate its agenda. It doesn't make sense. We're all simply stunned."


MK Yaakov Litzman, the minister of health and a follower of the Gur sect, later arrived in the city, though not to the protest, and spoke with the deputy commander of the police's Negev division.


Saturday's clashes were preceded by the hanging of pashkevilim against the city's mayor, and a complaint he'd made against the Gur sect's rabbi, as well as struggles regarding budgeting and use of public buildings.


In addition, the municipality fought against signs hung by Gur followers in Arad, with the latter pressing charges against the authority.


The municipality noted this was a result of continued thuggery effectively indorsed by the sect's leaders. "These acts include illegal entries into building buildings, kindergartens, operating sirens without permits, hanging signs all over the city and disturbing neighbors."


פרסום ראשון: 09.09.17, 23:04
 new comment
This will delete your current comment