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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem


"A Haredi Victory in the Capital: 'Yerushalmim' is Out

Due to resistance from the Haredi parties, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has removed approval of the agreement with the Yerushalmim party [1] from the agenda.

The Yerushalmim party left the coalition last year. Haredi representatives opposed an agreement signed between the party and Mayor Nir Barkat because of a problematic section in the document which aimed to expand the community centers' activity on the Sabbath[…]. Shas [2] party members received a strict order from Shalom Cohen, President of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah [3], to vote against Yerushalmim entering the coalition, as long as the problematic section remains. The Yahadut Hatora [4] party has announced a similar reaction.

In response, Yerushalmim Chairwoman Fleur Hassan-Nahoum said: 'There are thousands of families in Jerusalem cooped up in their homes every Saturday, with no available options for recreation. Under the agreement with the Mayor, we worked to increase the cultural events in Jerusalem, while preserving the status-quo.' [5] 'In this city many sectors live side-by-side, and just as we respect the Haredim, we expect them to respect the secular, dati-leumi, and conservative populations in the city. A line has been crossed here, and we will stand up for ourselves. We will not cooperate with those who refuse to respect the diverse, pluralistic population in Jerusalem.'"

– Behadrei Haredim

0202 Editor's Notes:
[1] Yerushalmim – a pluralistic civilian organization and political party in Jerusalem consisting of secular and religious members.
[2] Shas – Shomrei Sfarad, lit., "(Religious) Guardians of the Sephardim." An ultra-orthodox political party, primarily represents Mizrahi Jews.
[3] Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah – lit., Council of [great] Torah Sages, the supreme rabbinical policy-making council of several related prestigious Haredi intra-national organizations.
[4] Yahadut Hatora – an alliance of Degel HaTorah and Agudat Israel, two ultra-orthodox political parties, primarily representing Haredi Ashkenazi Jews.
[5] The status-quo in Israel regarding the Sabbath is based on agreements formed during the British Mandate. The agreement holds that the Sabbath must be kept in all national institutions, there must be no public transportation, and no labor or commerce can be performed on the Sabbath.

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