Hundreds attend illegal Haredi wedding in makeshift tent near Gaza border

Police busted an illegal mass wedding Tuesday held in a huge tent concealed between greenhouses near Israel’s borders with Egypt and the Gaza Strip, flouting the law and health regulations.

At least 400 people attended the indoor wedding of the grandson of the late ultra-Orthodox rabbi Yoram Abergel from the town of Netivot, Democrat TV and Channel 12 news reported.

Amid frequent large-scale violations of lockdown rules in the ultra-Orthodox community, the tent was built between greenhouses in a farming area, apparently in an attempt to hold the event without police intervention.

Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories

Free Sign Up

However, the many buses and cars streaming to the area and text messages sent to the participants appeared to have given the location away.

Police forces arrived shortly after the event began — but after the chuppah marriage ceremony — dispersed the crowd, and handed dozens of fines.

Some of the guests attempted to flee through the fields, the reports said. The rush also caused a traffic accident, with no casualties, that caused the local road to be blocked for some time.

Police commander Noam Kaiser called on the public to adhere to the Health Ministry rules banning large gatherings, since violations “disrupt the national fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

“The Israel Police will continue to work with the other authorities and enforcement bodies to stop the spread of the virus,” he said.

However, police have been criticized for failing to take any action against several mass funerals that took place this week, while handing out many fines to people who weren’t in gatherings. In the case of the funerals of leading rabbis in Jerusalem, police told media outlets that dispersing the crowds would have caused “bloodshed.”

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox men attend the funeral of late Rabbi Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik in Jerusalem, January 31, 2021, (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Figures released on Monday revealed that police were handing out proportionally far more fines in predominantly secular localities than in ultra-Orthodox ones.

According to Channel 13 news, there were 110 fines given in Herzliya per 10,000 residents in the month of January, 117 in Bat Yam and 155 in Tel Aviv. All three locations have a mainly secular population and have generally had relatively low rates of infection throughout the pandemic.

In contrast, there were just 59 fines handed out per 10,000 residents in the predominantly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, which has struggled with high levels of morbidity for large periods of the pandemic and is currently classified as a high infection locality.

The outlet revealed that the number of fines handed out per active coronavirus patient was 3.35 in Tel Aviv, 3.5 in Herzliya, and just 0.3 in Bnei Brak. The report did not clarify whether the fines were handed out for violations of the same severity in all locations.

Ultra-Orthodox demonstrators protest against the police enforcement of lockdown orders due to the coronavirus outbreak, in the city of Bnei Brak, January 24, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Last month saw violent clashes between police in Bnei Brak as protesters opposing lockdown regulations rioted in the city, including setting fire to a bus.

On Sunday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz lambasted the government’s “fake lockdown” and “unequal enforcement” as the Knesset passed a bill stepping up enforcement of the lockdown by doubling fines for violators.

Anger over disregard shown in parts of the Haredi community toward coronavirus restrictions reached new highs on Sunday when authorities failed to stop two large Haredi funerals from taking place, with thousands of people, many maskless, breaking lockdown regulations and failing to observe any social distancing, creating major health hazards.

Ultra-Orthodox men attend the funeral of late Rabbi Yitzchok Sheiner, in Jerusalem, January 31, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The disparity in policing was revealed as data released Monday showed that almost a quarter of all new Israeli coronavirus patients are from the ultra-Orthodox community, highlighting the disastrous spread of COVID-19 through Haredi cities and neighborhoods.

The Health Ministry’s data, based on averages of new cases over the last week, showed that 23 percent of new cases were from people who come from areas that are predominantly Haredi, even though just 12{409126f2c1f09c9e510a010c163a4bce2c3ccfc4019bdf864d6cb2d5d8752f38} of Israelis belong to the ultra-Orthodox community.

Nathan Jeffay contributed to this report.

I’m proud to work at The Times of Israel

I’ll tell you the truth: Life here in Israel isn’t always easy. But it’s full of beauty and meaning.

I’m proud to work at The Times of Israel alongside colleagues who pour their hearts into their work day in, day out, to capture the complexity of this extraordinary place.

I believe our reporting sets an important tone of honesty and decency that’s essential to understand what’s really happening in Israel. It takes a lot of time, commitment and hard work from our team to get this right.

Your support, through membership in The Times of Israel Community, enables us to continue our work. Would you join our Community today?

Thank you,

Sarah Tuttle Singer, New Media Editor

Join the Times of Israel Community

Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

You’re serious. We appreciate that!

That’s why we come to work every day – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Join Our Community

Join Our Community

Already a member? Sign in to stop seeing this

Next Post

Somerset woman 'over the moon' after influencers told not to use beauty filters

Wed Feb 3 , 2021
A SOMERSET woman who is calling for influencers to state they are using a filter to promote beauty products said she is ‘over the moon’ after an advertising watchdog ruled that they should not be used if they ‘exaggerate’ the effects of a product. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) made […]

You May Like