Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Haredim.JPG.jpgShouting curses, ethnic slurs, and calling other Israeli Jews Nazis, a group of Haredi Jews made fools of themselves in Jaffa today. The demonstrators shouted toward Commander Yoram Ohayon, who headed the police force, "Nazi, you look like (Adolf) Eichmann. You will pay for this."

Hundreds of haredim have been gathering to protest against excavation works in the town's Andromeda Hill on a daily basis in recent weeks. The haradim claim the site contains ancient graves.

The following is from Haaretz.

1,000 Haredim protest at Jaffa excavation site
Protestors say archaeological site holds sacred tombs

By Yaniv Kubovich

About 1,000 ultra-Orthodox protesters demonstrated yesterday morning in Jaffa to protest archaeological work in an area they believe contains Jewish graves. Five police officers were hurt in clashes with protesters, with one hospitalized with light injuries. A number of protesters were also hurt. Fifteen demonstrators were detained yesterday, nine of whom are being held for an extension of their remand.

The protesters first arrived at around 11 A.M. at the corner of Yefet and Louis Pasteur Streets in the Andromeda Hill neighborhood. An hour later they were joined by Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss - the leader of the anti-Zionist, ultra-Orthodox Eda Haredit sect - who had been allowed to access the site by car even though the area had been closed to traffic.

Accompanied by his entourage, Weiss exited his car and began leading mass prayers among the assembled demonstrators. "We curse the health, family and livelihood of all those who had a hand in the desecration of these graves!" yelled one protester. "All those involved in the defilement of this grave site and earth will pay with their lives - these curses have proven themselves in the past."

After the prayer, protesters headed toward the building site and tried to breach police roadblocks set up there. Police were instructed to employ force to move the crowd back to Yefet Street, a main artery in Jaffa.

Once there, several demonstrators hurled stones, bottles and other objects at police officers. Fearing the rally was getting out of control, police deployed special forces officers as well as a helicopter. Demonstrators responded by denigrating the officers as "criminals" and "Nazis," and several officers of Ethiopian descent were subjected to racial epithets.

At that point, officers sought to push the protest toward a nearby public park, during the course of which several protesters sustained light injuries.

After police received orders to disperse the rally entirely, demonstrators set trash bins on fire and continued hurling rocks. Two photographers were injured by stones, with one of them bleeding heavily from the head.

"This entire project is linked to wealth and power," said Erla Yekter, one of the protest organizers. "These people have come here to pray and protest. If there is any violence, it's only on the part of the police, not the protesters. People paid for their grave plots, and now they're building on top of them and selling the land that was bought [by others]."

The demonstrators arrived on 17 buses, most of them from Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.

Yesterday the Israel Antiquities Authority announced that the work at Andromeda Hill is nearing completion, and police expressed hope that the protests would soon end as well.

Still, Tel Aviv police said they were preparing for the possibility that the demonstrations could resume today.

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