'I'm afraid to drive through haredi neighborhoods'

Egged bus driver describes attack by anti-draft radicals during protest last week.

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David Rosenberg,

Jerusalem Egged bus
Jerusalem Egged bus
Flash 90

Egged buses serving haredi neighborhoods in the capital have come under attack in recent weeks, becoming the targets of radical anti-draft protesters during unauthorized road-blocking demonstrations.

The protests, organized by members of the radical Yerushalmi Faction, have been condemned by leading haredi rabbinic figures and senior members of the United Torah Judaism and Shas parties.

While most haredi yeshiva students obtain deferments from IDF service, the Yerushalmi Faction, led by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, has encouraged supporters not to cooperate with army officials in any capacity, even to secure a deferment from service.

On Thursday, Yerushalmi Faction members demonstrated on Shivtei Yisrael Street in Jerusalem, blocking the road with dumpsters and attacking public buses that attempted to circumvent the road block.

One driver for the Egged bus company, Muhammed Diab, found himself unable to pass the road block set up by demonstrators. For some 20 minutes, Diab told Channel 10, his bus was surrounded by protesters who hurled stones and other objects, smashing the windshield and injuring Diab.

“I was alone [inside the bus] for 20 minutes. They threw stones and rods, and the windshield of the bus was smashed and I was injured.”

“When the bus got to Shivtei Yisrael Street, the demonstrators blocked off the road with a dumpster.”

According to Diab, a number of other Egged drivers have suffered from similar attacks over the past few weeks.

“I’ve asked Egged to install cameras [on the dashboard] so that we can film the attackers when things like this happen.”

Since the attack, Diab has been on leave, but is expected to return in the next few days. “I hope that I’ll have the strength to go back. I’m afraid to go through a haredi neighborhood and would prefer not to go through those [areas]. The police need to find a way to protect drivers.”








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