Beit Shemesh: Arab Security Guards Beat Demonstrators
Six hareidi demonstrators, protesting at the controversial Golobentzich construction site in Beit Shemesh, claim to have suffered excessive physical violence at the hands of Arab security guards on Monday.
According to the police report, a confrontation broke out between several haredi demonstrators and the Arab employees working at the site.
The protesters, members of the extremeist hareidi Atra Kadisha group who believe the construction is desecrating an ancient burial site, accused the Arab security personnel of issuing violence against them in order to ensure that construction continues as smoothly as possible.
A Magen David Adom emergency squad provided medical care for four of the men who have light to medium injuries, but the injured were later evacuated to Hadassah Ein Kerem and Shaare Tzedek Hospitals.
Six of the Arab security personnel and two work-site overseers involved in the confrontation were arrested and taken in for questioning shortly after the brawl occurred.
This is not the first violent incident to take place at the construction site, where opponents of a project to build a new hareidi neighborhood claim the site is "the location of 400 Jewish graves."
But supporters of the plan say that is untrue - including leading hareidi rabbis such as Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, Rabbi Nissim Karlitz and Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, the latter of whom is the head of the hareidi community's beth din (religious court).
Many moderate hareidi figures have harshly criticized the Atra Kadisha group for fomenting violence over the project.
On August 12, hundreds of extremist hareidim rioted at several locations in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh in protest to the beginning of construction, setting fire to garbage cans and a forest area near the construction site. A total of twenty-nine rioters were arrested.
Two days later, a security guard was detained after throwing rocks at protesters. A border policeman was lightly injured and a Hareidi protester sustained a head injury during the resulting clashes. Three hareidi extremists were arrested.
Also in August, members of the Atra Kadisha confessed to beating up Aryeh Golobinzitz, one of the project’s managers, who is himself a member of the hareidi community, in his Jerusalem home.
Many rabbis from the Eida Hareidit stream - itself considered "hardline" - have come out strongly against the violent demonstrations at the construction site; even going so far as stating that the monthly stipend for “kollel” students, who leave their studies in order to demonstrate in Ramat Beit Shemesh, will be cut.