Members of the Satmar hassidic group, which officially opposes Zionism and the existence of a state led by Jews before the arrival of the Messiah, on Election Day expressed their opposition by conducting angry protests at polling stations in several cities in Israel. Hassidim protested in Meah Shearim in Jerusalem, in Bnei Brak, and in Ramat Beit Shemseh, all strongholds of Satmar hassidim.
The protests Tuesday in Meah Shearim followed a major protest Monday night in the neighborhood, led by the Satmar Rebbe himself. Smaller protests broke out spontaneously throughout the day, but the major protests by the group Tuesday were reserved for Ramat Beit Shemesh, where hundreds marched in the streets demanding that residents stay away from the polls.
The protest was dispersed peacefully by police, with no arrests made. However, residents of Ramat Beit Shemesh on Tuesday night reported that an individual whose clothing indicated that he was hareidi had entered several polling stations and caused a ruckus, demanding that voters who had not yet cast their vote leave. In one instance, witnesses said, the man upset a table, causing a major disruption and delay in voting.
Police detained the man for questioning. He has refused to cooperate even by submitting his name, police said.
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