Ultra-Orthodox Rioters in Israel Attack Police, Burn Bus
Rabbi Akiva Street, Bnei Brak, in a 2010 photo. (Avi Deror/Wikimedia Commons)

Ultra-Orthodox Rioters in Israel Attack Police, Burn Bus

Violent confrontations between ultra-Orthodox rioters and policemen enforcing COVID-19 regulations continued for a third day in the central Israel city of Bnei Brak, as well as in Jerusalem.

Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox rioters, protesting against the closure of synagogues and yeshivas, stoned police cars and attacked policemen, forcing one officer on Sunday to shoot in the air after he was surrounded by violent protesters. The head of the Israel Police’s Investigations Department told Ynet on Monday that 20 policemen have been hospitalized since Thursday. Rioters also have vandalized public property, most notably setting alight a bus in Bnei Brak after attacking its driver.

The riots have received widespread condemnation, including from within the ultra-Orthodox sector, and those participating in the violence have been described as “a small and radical minority.” However, this recent escalation follows on a long-existent tension between mainstream Israeli society and the ultra-Orthodox community, which repeatedly has been criticized for alleged lax observance of COVID-19 regulations.

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