A Haredi protest over the weekend against this week’s planned gay pride parade in Jerusalem had an extremely low turnout, despite these photos which show a sea of Haredim in the Mea Shearim neighborhood.
The Jerusalem Post reports: “The evening protest was marked both by its surprisingly low turnout – estimated by police to be around 10,000 people – and unusual calm for such a heated issue. The relatively small number of protesters marked a stunning defeat for the haredi organizers of the protest, who had expected as many as 100,000 people to turn out in force, and reflected the differences of opinion in the haredi world whether clashes with police at the event would serve their cause, with some Rabbis pointedly ordering their students to stay away from the event.”
A police force of 1,000 was on hand to quash any violence. According to Haaretz, “From a stage set up on a main street, protest organizers said ‘he who considers himself commander of the Jerusalem police force must prevent the parade and avoid bloodshed.’ During the three-hour rally, demonstrators heard speeches by rabbis, said prayers, blew shofars and lit black candles as a sign of mourning.”
Following the rally, a policewoman was reportedly hit with a stone and injured, and property was damaged as close to a hundred young ultra-Orthodox jews attempted to block Jerusalem’s Sanhedria junction in protest.
Ynet new reports some new developments this year as well. On city walls where the Haredim post fliers condemning the gay pride event and calling for violence, rival fliers have appeared:
“The flyer, signed by ‘Citizens for an equal, sane Israel’ called upon all citizens of Jerusalem to take part in the parade, caused an outraged among the ultra-Orthodox community. Beginning in the traditional pashkevil manner, the flyer called upon its readers to “hail the call of the shofar,” but continues in the none-traditional way by ‘warning against the hate and incitement…God have mercy of those who slander against their brethren.…Let us come with our masses to this great, peaceful, dignified and democratic march and defy the minority inciting us to violence,’ continued the flyer. ‘Hatred is a dangerous, infections (sic)_ disease. Let us all prove that Judaism does not mean fascism and bloodshed.’ The pashkevil, illustrated with a drawing of two men holding hands, ends with a call to the city’s residents, of all religious affiliations, to take part in the parade.”
A 500-meter parade route has been approved for Thursday night’s march, which is scheduled to take place between two central city parks. Police are on high alert, with “7,000 police officers and 166 private security guards will provide security for the march down King David Boulevard and the rally afterwards at the Liberty Bell Garden.”