Firefighters say ultra-Orthodox protesting relocation of ancient tombs in Ashkelon disrupted efforts to extinguish blazes; hundreds of haredim riot in JerusalemShmulik Grossman • Ynet
Firefighters managed to extinguish three different forest fires in the Ramat Beit Shemesh area on Thursday.
According to the firefighters, the haredim started the fires as an act of protest against the relocation of ancient graves in Ashkelon. The firefighters said they had to ward off haredim who were trying to disrupt the efforts to contain the blazes.
Earlier Thursday, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox threw stones at police officers on Shomrei Emunim and Shivtei Yisrael streets in Jerusalem. Large police forces dispersed the demonstrators.During the rioting a group of haredim shattered the windshields of a police vehicle that was parked on Shivtei Yisrael Street and attacked the driver.
The haredim said they stole from the vehicle a briefcase containing confidential documents detailing plans to arrest the riots' organizers, as well as deployment plans for the coming days. However, police officials said the stolen documents were not confidential. The driver's wallet was also stolen and he was evacuated to a hospital with injuries to his hand, the officials added.
Police are demanding that the haredim return the stolen material.
Also on Thursday, the Atra Kadisha organization and members of the Eda Haredit, who headed the struggle against the relocation of the graves at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, held a funeral ceremony in Jerusalem for the bones removed from the ER construction site.
Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox participated in the ceremony which was held in the city's Shabbat Square and included psalm readings and prayers asking forgiveness of the dead whose bones had been relocated.