Over 50 pieces of graffiti against Health Minister Yaakov Litzman were found spray-painted Sunday morning in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood.
The vandalism saw Litzman called a “murderer” and “Amalek,” the biblical archenemy of the Jewish people, apparently in protest of new lockdown orders of Haredi areas of the capital.
Municipal officials were to be sent to clean up the vandalism and police have opened an investigation, according to Channel 12 news.
The graffiti appeared after the government approved a lockdown of areas in Jerusalem with high rates of coronavirus infections, including ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods such as Mea Shearim.
Several neighborhoods in the capital with high coronavirus infection rates went into lockdown Sunday afternoon, with around 100 checkpoints set up around the capital. Over 1,000 police officers and soldiers were mobilized in the capital to enforce the regulations.
According to Health Ministry data, about 75 percent of the infections in Jerusalem have occurred in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, most of which are now sealed off. There were over 1,800 total cases in the city and at least 21 residents have died of the disease, according to Health Ministry data released Saturday.
On Sunday, the Health Ministry proposed a set of criteria for declaring areas “restricted zones” due to a high number of coronavirus cases there.
These include having a total of more than 50 people in a community with the virus, or “another number that will be determined dynamically in accordance with the development of the morbidity [rate]”; an infection rate per 100,000 people higher than the national average; and a rate of increase in new cases over the last three days that is higher than the national average.
“Clear and equal criteria need to be determined for all the cities, areas and neighborhoods in Israel without any connection or affinity to the nature of the population,” Litzman said in a statement.
“The specifications by which movement needs to only be limited in [areas with high] ultra-Orthodox concentrations is misguided and slander an entire public that adheres to the legal instructions and the rabbis,” he added.
Litzman appeared to be referring to the fact that the vast majority of the Jerusalem neighborhoods under lockdown are Haredi.
Litzman, the head of the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, came under fire earlier this month when he contracted coronavirus after he was accused of flouting his office’s own safety rules. He denies the allegations.