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Residents of Haredi town brawl with hardliners rallying against lockdown rules

In clip, ultra-Orthodox demonstrators opposing government lockdown are chased, punched after urging others to flout instructions; prayer gatherings busted by cops

Screen capture of a brawl between residents of Modiin Illit over the Health Ministry directives on the coronavirus outbreak (via Twitter)
Screen capture of a brawl between residents of Modiin Illit over the Health Ministry directives on the coronavirus outbreak (via Twitter)

Residents of the ultra-Orthodox town of Modiin Illit clashed violently on Monday over adherence to the Health Ministry’s pandemic rules.

The brawl took place between residents, as some protested the government lockdown and ban on religious gatherings.

“Help, Judaism is in danger,” the demonstrators cried, brandishing signs urging others to ignore social distancing rules designed to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to footage aired by Channel 12 news.

They were assaulted and chased by another group of residents who called them “murderers” for defying the rules.

According to the network, police did not show up at the scene and no arrests were made.

On Tuesday, the Kan network reported that two prayer services with 15 people each were broken up by police in the city. Those who refused to leave were detained, the network said.

In a clip released by police, an ultra-Orthodox man asked whether he knows he is breaking regulations says that he does not recognize the state or any of its instruments.

The network reported that both prayer gatherings were made up of members of the hardline Jerusalem Faction sect, which had also been responsible for mass attendance at a funeral in Bnei Brak over a week ago.

The ultra-Orthodox settlement of Modiin Illit, population 73,000, has 151 cases of the virus, according to Health Ministry data released on Tuesday.

Many in the ultra-Orthodox community initially dismissed social distancing regulations, which officials say has led to the high rate of infection.

Separately on Tuesday, 30 members of the Haredi community in Beit Shemesh were fined for praying together in a synagogue in violation of Health Ministry rules.

Ultra-Orthodox areas have been at the epicenter of the outbreak, with the city of Bnei Brak the first to be fully locked down.

There have been 60 deaths from the virus and over 9,000 infections. Approximately one-third of the total infections in the country come from ultra-Orthodox areas, according to data released Tuesday.

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