The ultra-Orthodox Street Has Been Ablaze for 5 Days, and Rabbis Can't Stop the Flames

The violence in Haredi communities this week over police enforcement of the coronavirus lockdown is the price the rabbis are paying for autonomy

Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer
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Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer

The streets of ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods have been ablaze across Israel this week. In Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, Beit Shemesh, Ashdod and Betar Ilit, young Haredi men have clashed with police trying to enforce the coronavirus lockdown.

However, the shocked headlines and response from politicians to the scenes of lawlessness ignore the fact that there’s nothing new about this sort of violence. In fact, it was an integral part of the tempestuous relationship between the Haredi autonomy and the Israeli state from its earliest days. 

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