More than 200 haredim rioted at a construction site in the Jerusalem bedroom suburb of Beit Shemesh today in a second day of protests over what they claim is the desecration of ancient Jewish graves. Construction workers and site security were forced to respond to haredi stone-throwing by throwing stones at the haredi mob as police were nowhere to be found.
Last updated at 5:53 pm CDT
Hundreds Of Haredim Riot In Beit Shemesh For Second Day, Police AWOL, Ineffective
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
More than 200 haredim rioted at a construction site in the Jerusalem bedroom suburb of Beit Shemesh today in a second day of protests over what they claim is the desecration of ancient Jewish graves, Ynet reported.
A small number of the haredi rioters reportedly broke through the construction site’s security but were pushed back by security guards, prompting both groups to hurl stones at each other.
A haredi rioter, Ephraim Cohen, told Ynet that the violence began when one of the security guards drove out of the construction site on a tractor "and almost ran over one of the demonstrators.…I was pushed and I fell to the ground, and broke my glasses. I'm a Cohen so I cannot enter a site that has graves, that is why I protest from outside the site, but there was no provocation on our part. We will stay here and protest as long as they keep working in that place and digging up,” Cohen reportedly claimed.
Even though the site was hit with large-scale riots yesterday and it was known that haredim would likely return to protest today, police were not on site to maintain order and only came after being summoned in response to the violence.
Police in Beit Shemesh have a long history of ignoring haredi crime and of failing to protect non-haredim targeted with haredi violence. The city’s haredi mayor, Moshe Abutbol of the Sefardi haredi Shas Party, has been remarkably unresponsive to the security needs of non-haredim, and has done nothing to stop the open harassment of women by haredim there.
Police eventually arrived at construction site. Security guards spent the afternoon attempting to prevent haredi rioters from entering.
Some of the hundreds of haredi rioters were diverted by a nearby fire, the second in two days. They apparently went to that location in the hopes of being able to stone firefighters as they did yesterday.
29 haredi rioters were arrested yesterday. There are no reports of any arrests today.
Last week, the elderly haredi developer of the site was reportedly beaten by a gang of haredim and hospitalized.
A Channel 2 investigative report last year reportedly found that Asra Kadisha extorts developers in exchange for allowing construction and archaeological excavations to take place unhindered and vandalizes valuable archaeological finds and physically threatens contractors and archaeologists linked to projects that refuse to pay Asra Kadisha. Asra Kadisha denied the charges.