Police crack down on violations of government restrictions against gatherings in Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood, arresting four people and fining at least another 30, amid an outcry against perceived inaction by police against segments of the Haredi population’s apparent flouting of the coronavirus regulations.
Officers entered the central Jerusalem neighborhood early this morning, checking for prayer services being held in violation of the government’s orders against such gatherings.
“During this [operation], the officers took out and broke up crowds of dozens and hundreds that had clustered in synagogues and informal houses of worship,” police say.
According to police, four people were arrested and brought in for questioning.
More than 25 people received fines of NIS 5,000 for violating the public health statutes and another five people received fines of NIS 500 for straying farther than the approved 100 meters (328 feet) from their homes.
Police say one house of worship, on Zonenfeld Street, was also shuttered for 30 days following a court hearing today after its owner was found to have violated the government regulations.
“Police operations in the past week have significantly brought down the number of people on the streets of the neighborhood, and [the officers’] presence will continue to ensure that all residents adhere to the regulations,” police say.
In police footage from the operation, residents of the neighborhood can be heard calling the officers “Nazis” and “criminals,” and referring to the female officers as shiksehs, a slur for non-Jewish women.
— Judah Ari Gross