Jerusalem Mayor Mulls Closing Controversial Parking Lot on Shabbat

Barkat and Jerusalem police chief trying to reach agreement with coty's ultra-Orthodox community.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat on Thursday announced he is considering closing on Saturdays a public parking lot in Jerusalem that was the subject of controversy and demonstrations by the city's ultra-Orthodox community.

Barkat met on Thursday evening with Jerusalem District Police Chief Aharon Franco, and said he is weighing closing the parking lot over the next two Saturdays in order to lessen the friction and tension in Jerusalem.

Barkat had originally ordered the parking lot open in order to accommodate the thousands of visitors that travel to Jerusalem's center and old city on Saturdays.

However, in the wake of recent riots by ultra-Orthodox residents, Barkat said he is considering shuttering the lot over the next two weeks in order to try and reach and agreement with community rabbis.

Posters hanging in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods had urged residents to attend upcoming protests should the lot be opened. Ultra-Orthodox community leaders said the protest would be called off if the lot remained closed on Saturday.