Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews protested on Wednesday against a construction project that they say will disturb ancient Jewish graves, leading to clashes with security forces and three arrests.
Protests took a violent turn Wednesday at the site of the “Golobinzitz compound” in the ultra-Orthodox Ramat Beit Shemesh neighborhood, where a new residential development is slated to be built, after a private security guard began throwing rocks at the protesters, who were taunting the guards and police at the scene with cries of “Nazis” and “murderers,” according to a Ynet News report.
Police said they questioned the security guard, who was then fired by the private company responsible for security at the site. A border policeman was lightly injured and an ultra-Orthodox protester sustained a head injury during the resulting clashes. Three ultra-Orthodox men were arrested.
On Monday, when the protests began, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox residents blocked entrances to Beit Shemesh and set fire to garbage cans and a forest area near the construction site, leading to 29 arrests. A smaller protest in Mea Shearim in Jerusalem saw a bus pelted with stones and garbage cans set aflame.
Last week, Haredi businessman Aryeh Golobinzitz, one of the project’s managers, was beaten in his Jerusalem home by a number of men who identified as members of Atra Kadisha, a ultra-Orthodox group behind the protests who allege that the construction will disturb a complex of ancient Jewish burial caves.
Ynet News reported Wednesday that ultra-Orthodox rabbis remain divided on whether Jewish law permits construction in the area, which is slated to become a new ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. A court-ordered survey last year found human remains at the site.
Adiv Sterman contributed to this report.