Ultra-Orthodox protesters clash with police in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh; 5 arrested

Sam Sokol is the Times of Israel's political correspondent. He was previously a reporter for the Jerusalem Post, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Haaretz. He is the author of "Putin’s Hybrid War and the Jews"

Protests break out in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh with hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews blocking roads and clashing with police.

The demonstrations were sparked by the announcement that the body of a 13-year-old boy who died this morning under unclear circumstances in Beit Shemesh would undergo an autopsy — a procedure considered taboo by Orthodox Jews.

According to police, the demonstrators “started fires, damaged bus windows, threw eggs and bottles and attacked police officers,” leading to at least five arrests as of this afternoon.

The protests continue through the evening with protesters blocking buses at a major intersection on Yirmiyahu Street in Jerusalem.

Mounted police attempt to move the crowds back, coming close to trampling them. One officer whips an ultra-Orthodox protester with his reins while others on foot grapple with people blocking buses who respond by screaming “Nazi” and “Hamas.”

The protesters also scream at ultra-Orthodox women who get off one of the blocked buses to demand to be allowed to pass, calling them “gentiles” and “whores.”

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