Ultra-Orthodox Jews battle police over parking lot – WTF?

Demonstrator tries to escape police
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Ultra-Orthodox Jews, angry at the opening of a parking lot on the Jewish sabbath, clashed with police separating them from secular Jerusalem residents who held a protest on Saturday in support of the move.

Police moved in to separate the demonstrators after ultra-Orthodox Jews started hurling stones and vegetables. A police spokesman said 24 people were arrested and four policemen suffered minor injuries.

Tensions have been brewing in the city over plans by Jerusalem’s Israeli mayor, Nir Barkat, to reopen a parking lot on Saturday, a move that could draw more traffic into the city on the Jewish sabbath…

Tensions reached a new peak on Friday when thousands of Ultra-Orthodox Jews walked through a main street in the city in protest at Barkat’s decision. Some scuffled with journalists and photographers covering the march…

Barkat became mayor in November after beating ultra-Orthodox Uri Lupolianski. He ran on a platform of reversing an exodus of secular young Jews who leave to cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa in search of better job opportunities.

The intolerance of fundamentalist religions confounds me. It doesn’t matter a bit how much any kind of orthodox True Believer mouths off about Love Thy Neighbor. When push comes to shove, they are as violent, cruel and egregious as any other leftover cave-dweller.

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