6 Haredim Busted
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Six haredim men were arrested yesterday near the presumed tomb of Habakkuk the Prophet in Northern Israel, Ynet reports.
The men – who all live in Central Israel – were part of a larger haredi group protesting roadwork being done near the presumed grave. They tried to physically disrupt workers who they called “robbers.”
As is customary in Israel, the roadwork is being done under the supervision of the Israel Antiquities Authority to help to ensure that no historical sites are damaged by the work. Construction of new roads, buildings and even hospitals have been stopped by the IAA when previously unknown historical sites, including graves, have been discovered. Sites discovered in that manner are generally preserved, either by altering the path of the road, redesigning the building, or entombing the site under the new construction after it has been excavated by archaeologists. Often a shaft to the site is built into the new construction so that the site can still be accessed by scholars.
Over the past few decades, haredim – often associated with Edah Charedit, the extreme haredi umbrella organization based in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem – have repeatedly attacked construction workers and archaeologists alike, and have staged major demonstrations and full scale riots to protest presumed grave “desecration.”
Some of these haredi protests delayed the construction of a hardened emergency room for a Southern Israel hospital. As the facility remained unbuilt, Israel’s south was hit with massive rocket attacks from Gaza.
Haredim have also allegedly vandalized antiquities.
On Tuesday, an ancient synagogue near Tiberias was desecrated by vandals who shattered 1700 year old antique mosaics and daubed anti-archeology slogans on the walls.
Last year, vandals burned a locked receptacle containing ancient artifacts at a secured archeological dig near Afula.
In both cases, police believe haredim carried out the attacks.
No arrests have been made in either vandalism.