Israel’s Fundamentalist Problem (ctd.)
Hundreds of haredim were involved in violent riots in Jaffa on Wednesday, in Rehov Louis Pasteur around the site of an archeological dig. Fifteen haredim were arrested.
The haredim maintain that the work desecrates the sanctity of ancient bones at the site. Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, the senior rabbinic leader of the Eda Haredit Badatz (rabbinical court), was on the scene to encourage the protesters and lead a curse against those working at the site.
Police said the demonstration was illegal. Demonstrators attacked police officers with bricks and rocks and also set fire to trash cans. There were attempts to knock policemen from their horses and five policemen were reported injured.
Two photographers were also injured and an Israel Radio reporter was forced to seek protection inside a police van.
The demonstrators broke into the old Jewish cemetery, which is close to the site of the dig.
Louis Pasteur and Yefet Street were closed to traffic.
A couple of days ago, two hundred haredim protested near the site and three demonstrators were arrested. Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) reported that vandals had ransacked an archaeological excavation of buildings from the late-Ottoman period in Jaffa on Sunday night.
“The damage done to these impressive buildings from the late Ottoman era is irreversible,” said Dr. Yoav Arbel, director of the excavation. The archaeological dig is taking place before the construction of a high-rise building.
Haredim have demonstrated against archaeological digs in the area several times because of their opposition to disturbing Jewish graves on the site.
“Lead a curse”. Good grief…