Protesters plan 'Secular Day of Rage'

Jerusalem city council member plans mass anti-Orthodox 'Day of Rage' across country.

David Rosenberg,

Secular Israeli confronts haredi demonstrators
Secular Israeli confronts haredi demonstrators

Anti-religious activists have called on the public to join a “Secular Day of Rage” protest scheduled for later this month to protest against what they call the “religionization” of Israeli society.

The event is being organized by the Yerushalayim Hofshit movement (not to be confused with the left-wing Free Jerusalem movement) for Friday, November 17th, with protests planned around the country.

The plan for the Secular Day of Rage was initiated by Jerusalem city councilwoman Laura Wharton, who cited recent unauthorized demonstrations by the Yerushalmi Faction against the drafting of yeshiva students as the inspiration for the protests.

On October 19th, the Yerushalmi Faction, led by Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, declared a “day of rage”, with protests in Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and other haredi population centers.

While a number of prominent haredi leaders have condemned the Yerushalmi Faction, the protests drew hundreds of demonstrators, who shut down roads and clashed with police.

“The entire State of Israel witnessed in recent weeks protests by extremist groups within the haredi communty, in which they blocked roads and railways, shuting down traffic at major intersections and leaving millions of people stuck [in traffic] for hours,” Yerushalayim Hofshit’s Facebook page declared.

Although the Yerushalmi Faction protests serve as the pretext for the Yerushalayim Hofshit “Secular Day of Rage”, organizers have a far wider agenda, calling for an end to funding for public ritual bathhouses (mikvahs), and end to the alleged “religionization” of Israel’s school system, the opening of publicly-funded transportation on the Sabbath, among other demands.

“We call on people from across the country, from Metullah [in the north] to Eilat [in the south] to come together and declare a day of rage for the secular public, just like the haredim did. And why are we going to do this? Because… the time has come to stop funding yeshivas and public bathhouses (mikvahs) with our tax money! Because the time has come to stop the religionization of the education system! Because the time has come to have public transportation on the Sabbath! Because the time has come… for secular Jews to also have something to do on the Sabbath!”

“The secular public has slowly been squeezed out of the cities where it grew up and lived, and its freedom has been stolen from it! Parks, stores, minimarts, coffee shops, movie theaters, restaurants, bars, dog parks and streets all are being closed [on the Sabbath]! It is time to end the madness and let our voices be heard!”

In Jerusalem, demonstrators say they plan on meeting in Zion Square on Jaffa Street, with a march into the nearby predominantly haredi neighborhood of Geulah.

“The haredim are protesting in our backyard? So we’ll protest in their backyard!”