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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem


Gur Hassidim Condemn Lockdown Protests

“Gur Hasidim [1] Condemn Protests: Haredim Scattered the Crowds

Rabbi Schatz, a Rabbi from the Gur Hassidic movement spoke out against the nightly protests in the Shamgar neighbourhood [2]. Many Hassidim who came to the protest, spoke to the young people and scattered the crowds of people.

After three nights of intense protests on Yirmiyahu street in Jerusalem, tonight (July 14, 2020) Gur Hasidim spoke out against the demonstrations and called to end them. Rabbi Haim Bonim Schatz, a Gur Rabbi in Jerusalem, told his close group of Hasidim not to go to the protests as they involve both a physical and spiritual danger. ‘Since these large gatherings are happening in the Romema neighborhood which is under lockdown, we want to caution others from going there as there is both a physical and spiritual danger. One should distance himself from the area and to avoid spending time there or travelling through the neighborhood while people are gathering and protesting’.

Many older Yeshiva students that live in the surrounding area, came to the protests, cleared out the crowds and spoke to young people, explaining that they should stay at home.

As reported earlier, even if initially some of the neighborhood's residents were spotted at the first protests, the continued violence and the public disturbance from litter-burning, stone-throwing protesters, has caused the residents to withdraw from the demonstrations.

On previous nights, most of the demonstrators were actually from other neighbourhoods and mainly young people who were looking for some ‘action’ and found a place to break loose, all while disturbing local residents.
Locals organised signs that condemned the protests while still denouncing the lockdown claiming that the closure was unjust. Among other things, they made signs with the slogans ‘No to Violence and No to Lockdown.’

In a message that residents distributed, they wrote: ‘We feel the pain of our neighbors who were placed in lockdown and we express this hurt. However, under no circumstances should our neighborhood turn into a center for violence, be it verbal or physical, as violence is against the way of the Torah. As locals, we ask the public not to come and protest against the police, and we will do everything we can to distance the youth that do come here to go wild.’

They also added as a threat that, ‘the residents have been equipped with photography equipment and will document any illegal activities. These materials will be handed over to the police.’”

In the photo:
Signs condemning the violence that say: “The neighborhood residents feel the pain of the lockdown but condemn all violence as this isn’t our way!!! The ways of the Torah are peaceful…”

▶️Source: Kikar HaShabbat News
▶️Picture Source: Screenshot from Yair Cherki’s Twitter https://bit.ly/3eKc6HM

0202 Editor’s Notes:
[1] Gur is a Hassidic dynasty that was founded in the small town of Gora in Poland in the early 1800s by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter. The sect is known for their strict practices and regulations regarding joy, housing, gender segregation and sexuality. Today, Gur is the largest Hasidic sect in Israel and is characterized by its large influence on politics, media and education.
[2] Shamgar Road and Yirimiyahu Street are main roads in the Haredi neighborhood of Romema, which is located in northwest Jerusalem at the entrance to the city. On July 10, 2020, Romema as well as the nearby Kiryat Sanz and Matersdorf neighborhoods were placed under lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

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