Police Ask Barkat to Close Yerushalayim Parking Lot…For Now


israeli_police_1Yerushalayim police chief Cmdr. Aharon Franco has asked Mayor Nir Barkat to close the newly opened municipal parking lot for the next two Shabboses so an alternative site can be found within two weeks, police and the city said this evening. The mayor is expected to accede to the police chief’s request. The developments came a week after thousands of charedim protested the opening of the city hall parking lot on Shabboses, and less than 24 hours before a second weekend of planned protests. The clash over the parking lot, which has been operated on Shabbos by a non-Jew. has emerged as the first major challenge for Barkat in treading through the delicate fabric of Yerushalayim’s diverse populations since he was elected in November.

Reb Yoel Kraus, the operations officer of the Eida Hachareidis said this weekend’s planned protests would begin tomorrow evening, and would spread to intersections in charedi neighborhoods on Shabbos.

A counterprotest is planned for Friday afternoon outside city hall, the site of the parking lot in question.

A meeting at midnight last night between Barkat and several charedi rarbbonim who are not affiliated with the Eidah failed to resolve the dispute, Barkat spokesman Evyatar Elad said today.

The meeting with five members of the Committee for the Sanctity of the Shabbos discussed principles and not specifics, Elad said.

Barkat said this week that he was determined to keep the lot open since it did not desecrate the Shabbos and met an urgent need.

The mayor would be willing to look into opening an alternate parking lot instead of the municipal garage, his spokesman said.

The offer, however, has been rejected by the Eidah Hachareidis as unacceptable, calling into question how an alternate site could be found to resolve the dispute within two weeks.

The lot was opened in agreement with Barkat’s coalition partners, including charedi city councilmen, to accommodate weekend visitors to the capital who were illegally parking on main thoroughfares near the Old City.

Rabbi Kraus said the charedi approval of the lot’s opening had actually made things worse.

The charedi city councilors had opposed earlier municipal plans to open a private lot opposite the Old City that police had preferred.

“It doesn’t matter where the desecration of the Shabbos is – two meters from Meah She’arim or two meters from the Kosel,” Rabbi Kraus said.

{Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel/JPost}


  1. Joe your comment. is unworthy of a chareidi person.It is not violence that we should use but persistence. Let us not stoop to the level of the street.