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Tag: Riots

Trouble in Paradise: The Latest From Al-Haram al-Sharif

Sunday was a day of chaos in Jerusalem’s old-city – which houses the holiest sites for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike.
Organized Palestinian protestors stormed the area which houses the al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock mosque, famous to Jews as the site of the Temple mount, while a conference by the Jewish National Religious Temple Institute in Jerusalem was underway.

Israeli police in Jerusalem gathered early at the site early in the day, in anticipation of the violent protests, which called for an end to Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Things got out of hand when Israeli police were hit with rocks and one Molotov cocktail, thrown by the Muslim rioters. There were reports that even tourists, who always frequent the holy area, were also being attacked with rocks. Palestinian demonstrators also poured oil through the streets to prevent Israeli police from gaining access to the site of the mosque.
In response the Israeli forces stormed the area of the al-Aqsa Mosque, using stun grenades. When the rioting had ended, nine policemen were reported as having suffered light injuries, after being pelted with rocks. Palestinian medical sources said that 17 Palestinians were treated for injuries; and 21 Palestinians were arrested.

Flag Burning by Our Turkish "Fans"According to an article in “The Age”:

The Jordanian Government’s spokesman in Jerusalem has demanded that Israel prevent its soldiers from entering the area known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif because, he said, it desecrated the area.

The Palestinian Authority Minister Hatem Abdel Kader, who is responsible for all PA Jerusalem affairs was arrested, and so was Islamic Movement cleric Ali Abu Shiyahe. Further details are pending on this latest eruption of the world’s Holy volcano.

Meanwhile, today in Turkey, demonstrators gathered to protest Israel’s actions in Sunday’s incident. According to an article in World Bulletin:

“[protesters] gathered in front of 4. Levent Metro station, thousands of people marched to Israeli consulate general. Shouting slogans to condemn Israel, protesters burned the Israeli flag in front of the consulate.”

Haredim Continue to Scream up a Storm

Well, several weeks have went by, and the Harta parking lot is still open. Now the Haredim are really pissed off, and they’ve decided to, in the words of Emeril Lagasse, kick it up a notch. In the last two days of protests, a Haredi man was run over by a car after he literally threw himself under it, six policemen were injured, and 16 were arrested.

Haredim parking lotIt’s now a battle of wills between mayor Nir Barkat and Haredi stubbornness. At some point, one of them is going to break, but both seem dead set on maintaining vigilance. Police reported an increase in the level of violence, the amount of people participating, the attempts to block roads and the parking lot itself, none of which succeeded. If you’re a policemen, at least your days are no longer boring.

Despite the ratcheting up, the police have no plans to instruct the mayor to shut down the parking lot.

I remember being at a rally recently on Tisha B’Av, where a group of religious nationalists were attending a rally circling the old city of Jerusalem mourning the destruction of the Temple. Meanwhile, upon exiting this rally, I walked through the Haredi Neighborhood of Meah Shearim. There, there was a different Tisha B’Av rally going on, about the parking lot.

Picture it. National religious Jews are circling Jerusalem and mourning the Temple. Haredim mourning the opening of a parking lot. There is something of an obsession here that has taken hold of the Haredi community and caused them to lose their Jewish sanity, until it seems there is none left.

I can imagine that, theoretically speaking, the Temple is actually rebuilt and they’re still protesting the opening of the parking lot. Is it really that far fetched?

Interestingly Dr. Hadas Hanani, a researcher of the haredi society, believes the real reason for the protest’s timing is economic.

“I think that the reason for holding protests at this time is the donations they have to raise ahead of the High Holidays,” she told Ynet. “This is the period when they look for donations abroad, preparing booklets and leaflets with explanations on why it is important not to leave families hungry during the holidays.”

She continued, “They show that they are bravely protecting Shabbat, presenting secular newspaper reports and pictures. It really serves them, it gives them ‘meat’ when they come to donors and tell them, ‘We are facing the seculars, the municipality, the police, and everyone.”

And when will they end according to her? Likely at the end of the holidays. “It will probably calm down slowly. They’ll find a patent in the form of an agreement with the municipality, or have the rabbis say that the demonstrations desecrate Shabbat.”

We shall see.

More clashes of Haredim with Law in Jerusalem over Child Abuse Case

Child abuse JerusalemSomething appears to be going awry among the ultra orthodox Jewish community of Jerusalem. The recent child abuse incident involving a 30 year old Haredi woman suspected of literally starving her three year old son over a two year period to get more attention from him, appears to be yet another incident involving a community who is not only a “culture within a culture” but one that is now trying to exert it’s influence – and even control – over a city that is not only sacred to the Jewish People, but to other religions as well.

The furor that been created, resulting in mass rioting by Haredi Jews, especially those belonging to extreme sects such as the anti-Zionest Toldot Aharon and Neturei Karta sects, who have set themselves apart of the rest of the community and have turned parts of Israel’s capital into a virtual battleground, and is causing widespread disruption to normal life in the city, especially in regards to municipal services.

The woman involved in this latest incident, was detained and later released under house arrest to the home of a prominent Haredi rabbi, was due to undergo psychiatric examinations today to determine her mental ability to face charges for her actions, which have been flatly denied by members of the Eda Haredit groups whose anti-Zionistic extremities may have set back normal relations with Jerusalem municipal authorities “at least 20 years”.

The woman, who is 8 months pregnant, has four other children, whose whereabouts as presently unknown; with speculation that they have been “absorbed” into this community that not only does not recognize the existence of the State of Israel, but often has members seen in photo clips at very unusual places – even posing with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at international anti-Zionest conferences.

Jerusalem in former years used to be city in which both religious and non-religious people seemed to coexist with each other, despite major differences – especially to the observance of the Sabbath and major Jewish holidays. This was especially true under to municipal leadership of Mayor Teddy Kollek, who managed to keep the “pressure cooker” of religious differences from exploding during his long mayoral administration which lasted nearly 3 decades.

More recently, however, secular and even mildly-observant Jews have been leaving Jerusalem and have been replaced by more religious groups, especially Haredi Jews who have moved into many Jerusalem neighborhoods, especially those within reasonable walking distance of the Old City and the Kotel Maaravi or Wailing Wall. This new trend may be the reason why such an uproar has been recently made by Haredi Jews over the parking lot located under the new shopping mall in the Mamilla Quarter, just outside the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City. The opening of the parking lot on Shabbat, for use by non-religious Jews and other visitors to the Old City on the weekends, resulted in mass rioting and demonstrations by the extreme Haredi communities in recent weeks.

Why all of this happening, including personal incidents within these extremely closed communities, is bringing more and more attention to groups of extremely religious groups who now appear to be trying to gain an even greater hold on Israel’s capital, as well as bringing attention for people to appear to live under their own moral and even legal codes of conduct, and seem unwilling to act according to legal codes and statutes that have been set up for the benefit of all residents.

How both municipal and even national legal authorities will be able to deal with this apparently growing problem is one that remains to be seen. But most likely, non-religious Jews will continue to make attempts to exert their presence in the capital as well, resulting in further friction among the various groups of residents which make up the cultural and religious mosaic of the city of Jerusalem.

No Change For Iran – Mousavi Contests Election Results

No sooner had incumbent Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared himself victorious in last Friday’s election, his challenger, Mir Hossein Moussavi cried “foul” at the results of the balloting which gave Ahmadinejad 62.5 % of the total vote. Mousavi, a former Iranian president during the 1980’s and who ran under a campaign of economic and social reform, claimed that many election precincts were “managed by untrustworthy monitors”, and many of his supporters rioted in the streets of major cities afterwards.

News in Stories: Iran Elections Boston GlobeSince foreign observers were banned from the actual balloting, there’s no telling what really went on, and many people who stood in long lines for hours at polling stations; and even had their thumb ink dyed when they did get to vote, may have had their vote discarded during the actual counting period once the polls closed. An amazing 85% of the country’s eligible voters went to the polls in an election which had culminated weeks of intense campaigning by supporters of both candidates in a contest that was really a referendum on Ahmadinejad’s handling of the country’s economy, now experiencing 30% inflation and more than 17% “official” unemployment. Many Mousavi supporters were dissatisfied young Iranians, especially academics who can’t find decent jobs after completing university studies.

Ahmadinejad gave one of his usual long victory speeches on Saturday, and gave an even longer one on Sunday during a news conference where he compared the rioting to disturbances that occur “after a football match”. Football match indeed! The streets of Teheran were almost turned into a battle ground as many young protesters battled police and paramilitary personnel, and numerous vehicles and shops were set ablaze. Many of the protestors were arrested, and it was even rumored that Moussavi himself has been detained for questioning for his possible part in the rioting (and may even be under arrest). The protests, according to many observers, were nothing less than many peoples’ dissatisfaction with the way the country has been run under Ahmadinejad, and how Iran has become increasingly isolated by international sanctions due to the ongoing nuclear program; including Ahmadinejad’s tirades against Israel and his denial of the Holocaust.

News in Stories: Iran Elections Boston GlobeThe results of the election come to no surprise with Israeli leaders, and many even hoped that Ahmadinejad would win in order to continue international pressure against Iran, and especially it’s missile and nuclear enrichment program which is now said to have progressed far enough to have enough enriched uranium and plutonium for at least one if not two nuclear bombs. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is scheduled to give a speech to the country Sunday night, which is said to be a response to both U.S. President Obama’s speech in Cairo, as well as the aftermath of the Iranian elections. Israel has been warned by the Obama administration not to try to “go at it alone” to take out Iran’s nuclear capability; and the country’s leadership is now fully aware that Israel’s current relations with the USA are a far cry from what they were during the Bush administration.

All in all, however, the violent protests which have occurred in many parts of Iran following the election may wind up being a “consolation prize” for Mr. Mousavi and his followers; and are an indication that all is not well in the country. There appears to be a strong “grass roots” movement that could decide it’s had enough with people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs.

GIANT HAT TIP: Boston Globe Iran’s Presidential Elections in Pictures

Athens 08 vs. LA 92

Greece is burning in flames. Anarchy is everywhere in Athens and in other large cities. The reason? A teenager who was shot dead by the police.

The 1992 riots in Los Angeles began in similar circumstances. Rodney King was beaten to death by the LAPD, and this is was the underlying cause of the riots.

Yet despite the similarities, the LA riots began only after the jury acquitted the defendants, while the riots in Greece began immediately after the shooting. This is a very important distinction. It says that the Greek don’t have any faith in their Juristical System. They would not even wait to see how this may fold out in court. Apparently, corruption and disbelief in bureaucracy is even greater in Greece than it is in Israel.

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