Five police officers, ten demonstrators lightly hurt in protest violence after rabbi leads mass prayers to curse developers of luxury housing project.By Yaniv Kubovich • Ha'aretz and The Associated Press
Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews rioted in Jaffa on Wednesday over building work they say is desecrating Jewish graves.
Police and reinforcements from the Border Guard deployed heavily to contain protesters and at least five police officers hurt by stones thrown by rioters, who also torched rubbish bins, Israel Radio reported. Ten demonstrators were lightly hurt and fifteen were arrested.
Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, leader of the Edah HaChareidis, an extremist Jewish sect that rejects the authority of the State of Israel, led mass prayers, including curses directed at the developers of a hotel in the Andromeda luxury housing development near the seafront in central Jaffa.
"The Rabbi put a curse on the health, body and the livelihood of anyone talking part in this project and desecrating the memory of the dead," one protester said.
Demonstrators called police "Nazis" and "murderers", while one black officer suffered racist taunts.
Last month Haredi Jews staged demonstrated at an Ashkelon hospital over building on ancient graves - which archaeologists later said were Byzantine, not Jewish as protesters claimed.
Jerusalem has also witnessed a series of disturbances in the past year over the municipality's plans to open a car park on Saturdays, the Jewish sabbath.
Here is Ynet's report:
Officers hurt in haredi riots in Jaffa
Daily protest against excavation works turns violent when hundreds of haredim arrive in buses, dismantle fence. Demonstrators hurl stones at police officers, leaving five injured
Eli Senyor • Ynet
Violent haredi riots in Jaffa. Five police officers and two news photographers were lightly to moderately injured on Wednesday by stones thrown at them by ultra-Orthodox rioters. The police officers were evacuated for medical treatment.
Large forces were deployed to the area in order to contain the demonstrators, of whom 15 were arrested. Helicopters hovered overhead and roads were blocked off.
Hundreds of haredim have been gathering to protest against excavation works in the town's Andromeda Hill on a daily basis in recent weeks. Wednesday morning was no different, and hundreds arrived at the construction site and called out against the workers there.
The police were prepared for a demonstration, but the haredi protest escalated when hundreds arrived in buses and began to riot, and climb the fence in the area to tear it down.
They also hurled stones and bricks at the police officers in an attempt to deter them.
As a result of the disturbances, five police officers were injured and treated by MDA crews. Many police, horsemen and Border Guards were deployed in the area and part of Yeffet Street was closed to traffic.
Even after the first disturbances, hundreds of protestors remained carrying signs reading, "Criminals, thieves, get your hands off the graves."
Ambulances followed patrol cars on the streets. Tumbled barriers, stones, bricks and bottles lay strewn around like a battlefield. Haredim continued to gather even after being removed from the work site.
It took hours for the police to disperse the protesters and send them back to the buses. Some threw bottles at the police from the bus windows.
Yoav Zitun also contributed to this report.