Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Israel - Eruv Wars Come to Kiryat Yovel and Both Sides Claim the Police Isn't Doing Enough

Did anyone say culture war? Local elections are in the offing, and what is happening in one Jerusalem neighborhood is beginning to look like a street battle - though so far, with property damage only.

Every Saturday, a group of secular residents takes to the streets of their neighborhood, Kiryat Yovel, in order to vandalize the poles and wires set up by a private Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) organization. A few days later, the Haredim fix the damage, which then recurs the following Shabbat. They claim the damage so far has cost NIS 150,000.

This set of poles and wires, known in Jewish law as an eruv, marks the boundary of the area where the ultra-Orthodox - who only just moved into the neighborhood - are permitted to carry objects outside their houses on Shabbat. There is already a municipal eruv covering the whole city, but the Haredim do not accept it. Thus in practice, this new eruv is what enables them to leave the house with their little children and strollers on Shabbat.

Both sides claim the other is taking the law into its own hands. And both complain the police are doing nothing.


No comments: