"The Monster" - Kiryat Yovel
"The Monster" - Kiryat Yovel Photo by Michal Fattal/Flas

Haredi pressure worked. Jerusalem Kiryat Yovel neighborhood Yovelim Community Center Director Yehiel Levy announced today (Thursday) his resignation.

The resignation may be attributed to heavy haredi pressure exerted following publication of recordings in which he was heard to say that his administration adopted a policy aimed at "choking the haredim."

"What's the idea? To strangle them," Levy said in a recording published on Army Radio. "When you choke them, they go; when you make it hard on them, they don't love living here. That's the mechanism that works today. "

The Religious Zionist rabbi of Kiryat Yovel, Rabbi Simchon, defended Levy on Reshet Alef Radio, saying that relations between religious and secular in the neighborhood were peaceful for decades until a community management (minhelet) was appointed - not elected - by the city and that this management insisted on purposely having events on the Sabbath. He said that elections for a new management were postponed by the mayor, but that when they occur, this management will be ousted. He claimed that Levy was being pressured, had no choice but to give in to the management and was actually quoting them in his remarks.

According to the community manager, he organized events specifically on Shabbat near streets where haredim live. "If management so badly wants to show films because that is the cultural need of a secular population, why do it in the same complex that has a lot of haredim, where the neighborhood rabbi also lives?" asks the director rhetorically and answers, "To show that we need not be concerned about where we do it. At the resident's level, there is understanding. At the city management level - a fit of rage."

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