Additional Protests Planned for Yerushalayim Parking Lot


chareidimMembers of the chareidi community in Yerushalayim are preparing for another weekend of protests against the opening of a municipal parking lot at city hall – free of charge and staffed by a non-Jew – on Shabbos. Last Shabbos, thousands protested near the Kikar Safra parking lot and at the entrance to Meah She’arim. The protest set off a backlash in secular circles, triggering calls to Mayor Nir Barkat not to capitulate to chareidi demands. Members of the charedi community have responded by stepping up activities designed to close the parking lot on Shabbos.

Yesterday, the Eida Hachareidis announced that a massive Kabbolas Shabbos gathering would be held on Rechov Bar-Ilan in the Bucharim neighborhood tomorrow night, with the expected participation of leading rabbonim and thousands of people.

Protest organizers are trying to enlist the endorsements of Rav Elyashiv and the Gerrer Rebbe by obtaining their signatures for pashkivilim announcing the protests.
The Gerre Rebbe, who has already agreed to send his chassidimto the protest, said he would only give his signature if all of the leading rabbonim of did so as well.

Organizers also said on yesterday that the decision to hold the protest on Friday night, as opposed to Shabbos afternoon, was made to avoid a secular counterprotest planned for Shabbos. Nonetheless, posters that went up in Meah She’arim and other neighborhoods this week called on residents to attend tomorrow night’s gathering and to return to the parking lot on Shabbos for an additional protest.

“For the charedim it’s not about the parking lot, this has become a general battle over Shabbat in Yerushalayim,” Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, head of Zaka said. “Barkat has been in office for half a year now, and after the elections, which were really a referendum on the character of the city, and in which Porush lost, the charedi street has been quietly brewing. The parking lot is simply what has set it off.”

Meshi-Zahav explained that while numerous private businesses operate on Shabbos in Yerushalayim, the fact that it was the municipality operating the parking lot – essentially lending it an official stamp – had caused members of the charedi community to break their silence.

“And Barkat is between a rock and a hard place,” he said. “The charedim are not going to back down, and the secular [residents] won’t let Barkat back down.”

When the opening of the parking lot was initially discussed last month, an agreement was reached with the municipality’s charedi council – made up of charedi city council members – which stipulated that a non-Jew would operate the lot in an effort to calm opposition.

But the Eida, along with others, rejected the deal, and last week they begin calling for protesters to take to the streets.

{Yair Israel}


  1. What kind of city is Jerusalem? I thought it was Jewish. This is what they get for allowing the Tziyonim one centimeter.

    Frei people, get out. You could have been michallel Shabbos in chul. Get out of eretz hakodesh.