Hareidim Riot over Ramat Beit Shemesh Building Project
Hundreds of extremist hareidim rioted at several locations in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh Monday, reports Maariv. They were protesting the beginning of construction work at the Golobentzich site in Ramat Beit Shemesh, which they say is also the site of ancient burial caves. Work at the site has not been interrupted, and police are present to provide security.
The hareidim belong to the Atra Kadisha group, which holds demonstrations whenever they believe construction is being carried out at a location that holds ancient graves.
Jerusalem Police detained 14 of the rioters, 13 of them for disturbing public peace and one for attacking a policeman. Following this detention, rioters set garbage containers on fire on Nehar Hayarden Street in Beit Shemesh, and blocked the road. Large police forces arrived and tried to disperse the rioters, while a fire crew battled the flames from the burning garbage containers.
Riots also took place in Me'ah Shearim in Jerusalem, where hareidim overturned garbage containers and blocked a road to traffic.
The Ramat Beit Shemesh plot is being developed by the relatively moderate Lithuanian stream, which notes that a committee headed by Rabbi Nisim Karelitz determined that there is no reason not to go ahead with construction.
Last week, Maariv adds, extremist hareidim came to the home of hareidi developer Aryeh Golobentzich, whom the project is named after, and beat him severely, to the point that he had to be taken to a hospital.
A Channel 2 investigative report last year presented testimony according to which Atra Kadisha seeks payments in exchange for allowing construction and archaeological work at various sites, vandalizes valuable archaeological finds and threatens contractors and archaeologists. Atra Kadisha denied the charges. It claims that all of its actions are motivated by respect for the deceased, whose graves must not be violated by land developers and archaeologists..