Police enforcement in Jerusalem
Police enforcement in JerusalemOlivier Fitoussi/Flash90

Dozens of people rioted on Sunday evening in Bnei Brak, after police forces entered a synagogue on Rabbi Dessler Street to disperse an illegal gathering. Many reported that the police utilized excessive violence in enforcing government regulations.

Police had apparently heard that hundreds of people were gathered in a single location, in contravention of government guidelines, with most of them not wearing face masks and not observing social distancing rules. When they arrived at the scene they began to issue citations, and several of those in the synagogue began to create a disruption. Ultimately, thirteen people were arrested for public order offences.

Bnei Brak mayor Avraham Rubinstein responded: “It is extremely unfortunate that the police do not learn from their prior mistakes and still fail to coordinate their enforcement of the regulations with local authorities. Instead, they use extreme violence against people who gathered to pray. I demand a clear explanation of this conduct from the police, and an immediate cessation of all use of violence.”

Other scenes of police violence took place in Jerusalem’s Kikar Hashabbat, at the intersection leading into Meah She'arim. Various media sources report that a massive police presence numbering in the hundreds was sent to the neighborhood. Haredi extremists set fire to garbage canisters, and police brutality including violence directed against minors was documented. Five people were arrested for public order offences, after they refused to identify themselves.