Jews fighting Jews
Fresh clashes in Bnei Brak as Haredi leaders blame police for violence
Fireworks launched toward officers, buses attacked and burned, as rioting again breaks out in ultra-Orthodox city where many are breaching and opposing national COVID lockdown
Top ultra-Orthodox officials on Sunday blamed police for ongoing clashes between officers and opponents of lockdown restrictions in Bnei Brak, as fresh rioting erupted in the Haredi city.
Demonstrators in the Tel Aviv suburb pushed dumpsters into the street and lit them ablaze, with one video showing officers being targeted with fireworks.
The protesters also threw rocks at a bus and commandeered it, forcing the driver to flee, according to Hebrew media reports.
After midnight, a group of youths attacked a second bus, forcing it off the road and setting it on fire.
ובינתיים בבני ברק: סוף יום קרב pic.twitter.com
— יאיר שרקי (@yaircherki) January 24, 2021
Police said they would not be deterred by violence and vowed to continue to enforce the national coronavirus lockdown.
אוטובוס קו 402 של אגד נרגם באבנים ברחוב אהרונוביץ בבני ברק. לאחר מכן, נערי שולים נכנסו פנימה, לקחו מטפים שפרקו ברחוב. הנהג ברח מהמקום. כרגע נערים שולים מדליקים מפצים שנורים לכל עבר. אין משטרה באזור.@ynetalerts pic.twitter.com
— איתי בלומנטל Itay Blumental (@ItayBlumental) January 24, 2021
The latest clashes came as lawmakers from the United Torah Judaism party and other Haredi officials held a meeting on the roof of the Bnei Brak city hall, placing the blame for the violence squarely on cops and not the protesters.
“The Israel Police carries the blame for the catastrophe taking place in our city for several days,” Bnei Brak Mayor Abraham Rubinstein said.
He accused police of engaging in “provocative activity” and “collective punishment” against the city’s residents.
Among the UTJ lawmakers in attendance were Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman and MK Moshe Gafni, close political allies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.