Anti-Haredi Discrimination?
'I'm haredi, so police told me to turn around and go back home'

Haredi man driving to work with papers proving he is an essential worker says he was refused passage at police checkpoint.

Ben Shaul ,

Police checkpoint (archive)
Police checkpoint (archive)
Nati Shohat/Flash90

There is a growing number of reports of anti-haredi discrimination at police checkpoints on Israeli roads, in particular on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Arutz Sheva has received numerous reports from haredi drivers who claim they were singled out by police and forced to turn around and drive home – despite no prohibition on travel to the capital.

In one recent case, M. told Arutz Sheva of an instance in which he was refused entry to Jerusalem, despite being an essential worker.

“I went to Jerusalem with a relative. We drove on Route 38. When we got near Tzova we stopped ahead of a police checkpoint. Ahead of us were several cars with secular drivers. The police officers didn’t prevent them from continuing on. But when I got to the checkpoint, the officer came to the car and ordered me to turn around.”

“I asked him if private cars are banned from entering Jerusalem. He replied casually, saying ‘There’s no partying in Jerusalem’. I told him that I’m going to work and showed him my documentation proving that I’m an essential worker – despite the fact that the law doesn’t require me to do so, since there was no lockdown or curfew. Nevertheless, the threatened to give me a fine if I didn’t turn around.”

In another case, a different haredi driver was also forced to turn around at the same checkpoint on Route 38.

“I asked him why he wasn’t letting me go to Jerusalem, but all I got in response was him grabbing my shoulder and threatening me with a fine.”

Footage from the checkpoint was circulated on Sunday, showing what appears to be officers singling out haredi drivers, refusing them entry into Jerusalem.

Police acknowledged that haredi drivers had been turned away at the checkpoint on Route 38, but said the discrimination was isolated and had not occurred elsewhere.

“This is a specific incident which occurred on Route 38 and has been dealt with,” a police spokesperson said.

Several haredi lawmakers said they were not satisfied with the police department’s response, accusing police of discriminatory policies against haredim.

“The discrimination taking place at the entrances to Jerusalem between haredim and seculars will cost the government’s policy makers dearly,” said United Torah Judaism chief Moshe Gafni.



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