Sunday, August 31, 2008

Vandalism Against Jerusalem Eruv Continues

Hooliganism” is the word used by one chareidi newspaper to describe the continued vandalism against the eruv in the Kiryat Yovel and Kiryat Menachem neighborhoods of the capital. This past Shabbos, the attack against the eruv was expanded to additional areas of the capital as well.
There appears to be a growing momentum in the battle against chareidim moving into Kiryat Yovel. This past week, there was a protest outside Jerusalem City Hall during a council meeting, with secularists expressing their opposition to a chareidi school in Kiryat Yovel.
Once again, the eruv was torn and poles damaged, and an inspection on motzei Shabbos revealed significant damage in the two neighborhoods as well as the mehadrin eruv in other areas including Armon HaNatziv, Givat Mordechai, Givat Shaul, and Bayit Vegan. Most of the neighborhoods still had the religious council eruv, although there were actually areas without any eruv according to reports. Rabbonim lamented the fact that the acts of vandalism led to chilul Shabbos by some in areas that were left without an eruv as a result of the actions of the secularists.
Rabbonim will be convening in an urgent meeting on Sunday to discuss the alarming trend and the lack of response from Israel Police.


The eruv system in Yerushalayim is quite comprehensive, and in many areas, there is redundancy, a mehadrin eruv from one rabbinical authority, a religious council eruv, perhaps an Eida Chareidis eruv, and so-forth. The redundancy ensures that if there is a p’sul in one of them, the others will cover residents and avoid chilul Shabbos chas v’sholom.
This week, according to a Yated Neeman report, areas were left without an eruv R”L after yet another Shabbos of intentional attacks, this time targeting the eruv cable and poles in many areas, leaving large portions of the capital without an eruv and without an ability to inform residents of the attack carried out by secularists whom have made the eruv sabotage their weekly outing.
Yated reports that in one instance, a rav involved in the eruv decided to see for himself and he conducted a Shabbos stakeout. At about 1:00am, he witnessed two Mazda 3 sedans pull up and the people who emerged were on a mission, to take down the eruv. He identified himself and pleaded with them not to take action that will result in chilul Shabbos but his plea fell on deaf ears. They went about their business, destroying eruv lines and poles while the rav watched helplessly, unable to intervene due to the kedusha of the Shabbos.
The rav stated that he did not realize the extent of the damage until he and colleagues returned on motzei Shabbos – explaining that the damage is extensive, in multiple areas, and quite costly as well.
Rav Shlomo Rosenstein, a member of the vaad responsible for the eruv in Yerushalayim commented that the recent events are most alarming and he questioned why people have decided to launch a campaign that is leading to chilul Shabbos in the city. The rav pointed out that in recent years, the frum and non-Shomer Shabbos communities for the most part have been getting along and the recent turn in events is most distressing.
Yated reports that as a result of the damage this week, the roads leading to MDA, Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital, Shaare Zedek Hospital and Bikur Cholim Hospital were without an eruv in certain areas, as was the entrance to the capital and streets connecting different neighborhoods.
Rabbonim were outraged upon learning of what had occurred, questioning how police continue to sit back and permit this to happen Shabbos and Shabbos, without intervening.
MK Uri Maklev before Shabbos spoke with police, seeking to impress upon officials the seriousness of the situation, but apparently the pleas of the elected official were insufficient to prompt a police response.
Rabbonim also decry the statements of some secular MKs who are turning a blind eye or somewhat supporting the vandalism and law-breaking in the hope of gaining support from the non-frum community in the next election.

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