Haredi 'Drive-In' Protest Could Slow Pesach Traffic to a Crawl

Haredi groups protesting the arrest of a youth who refused to report for IDF service plan a traffic slowdown as their latest gambit

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Yaakov Levi ,

Haredi Demonstration
Haredi Demonstration
Israel news photo: Flash 90

As hareidi groups continue to protest the detention of a community youth who refused to report for IDF service, organizers of the protests have come up with a new gambit – going on a traffic “slowdown,” with hundreds of haredi drivers crawling along major highways in order to vent their dissatisfaction.

Protests have been going on nearly nightly in haredi neighborhoods of Jerusalem and other areas over the imprisonment of the young man. The protesters are from the eida hareidit stream, which organized mass rallies in the past. The protests have increased in recent days over the intention of authorities to hold the youth over the Passover holiday.

On Sunday, one of the groups sponsoring the protests authored an article in haredi newspaper Hapeles, calling on haredi drivers to organize a convoy and snake their way along major highways. The objective, the article said, was to ensure that the Israeli public was quite clear on the feelings of the haredi community regarding the detention of the youth.

The intermediate days of Passover (Hol Hamoed Pesach) was the appropriate time for this protest, the article said, as many Israelis with days off for the holiday would be taking their families on day trips.

“Drivers should equip themselves with a full tank of gas, and be prepared to remain in their vehicles for a long time,” the article said. “They should also bring food and drink, as they may be in their vehicles for many hours.” And the time could be put to good use, as well, the article said, advising drivers to take religious books with them so they could study while on the road.

“According to the law, drivers can travel in a safe and pleasant manner” and do not have to drive over or even at the speed limit, the article said. The minimum speed limit on major highways in Israel is 55 kilometers per hour, about half the legal limit on most roads.

“If the prisoner is not allowed to celebrate the holiday in freedom, no one should be allowed to,” the paper said.