Jerusalem Heat / Violence Benefits the Zealot Leaders

The ultra-Orthodox lexicon, normally used to depict life with the boldest possible colors, is being watered down amid the violent reality of Jerusalem's streets.

War, pogroms, Nazis - all these words have been diluted by the hot summer months in the capital, even before Saturday night's clashes in the Geula neighborhood to protest the city's decision to open a parking lot on the Sabbath.

Now the ultra-Orthodox zealots have charges of murder on their lips, after a yeshiva student from the Satmar community was run over during Saturday's demonstrations.

The Haredi press tells of "the second murder attempt by the Zionist Gestapo commanders." Demonstrators are now crying for revenge.

In Mea Shearim and Geula, one scandal follows another, and each one bleeds into the last: throngs hit Zefania Street on Sunday to prevent the police from evacuating the body of a non-Ultra-Orthodox man killed by a perpetrator with what police say were criminal motivations.

They joined the dozens of people who went out to protest against the continued detention of those arrested in the parking lot protests Saturday, and against the initial "attempted murder" near the Karta parking lot. There too a yeshiva student was run over by a passing vehicle.

After the second incident, some young people began vandalizing traffic lights and police vehicles, and threatened the neighborhood's welfare office - the residue of an earlier affront in which an ultra-Orthodox woman was alleged to have starved her son.

On Saturday night all of these fronts came together in a kind of foggy total war against police officers and other symbols of the state, and at the moment there are no signs of this conflict letting up.

The escalation serves primarily the leadership of the Eda Haredit, the umbrella organization over several ultra-conservative Haredi groups including the Satmars.

The zealots, headed by Eda Haredit leader Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, live within and beside a more prosperous Haredi society supported by the state, large portions of whom have abandoned the old values of modesty, poverty by choice and vehement anti-Zionism.

This an ultra-Orthodox community whose members speak Modern Hebrew, pass time in shopping malls, and consume the secular media - all perceived as abominations by the arch-conservatives.

It's worth noting that most of the defenders of attacks on mainstream ultra-Orthodox who chose to sit out the fight accuse them of "collaborating" with the Zionist regime.