Nir Barkat, Mayor of Jerusalem, was attacked by extremists from the hareidi-religious community Sunday evening and needed a large police contingent to get him to safety. No one was reported hurt.
The incident occurred after Barkat emerged from a previously arranged meeting with the Rabbi of Kalev in the Ezrat Torah neighborhood of Jerusalem.
The extremists surrounded the car that was carrying Barkat and threw rocks at it, causing extensive damage. According to Arutz Sheva, the police contingent that protected Barkat had to call in a backup force and it took a long time to extricate the mayor from the hostile crowd. A more precise estimate of the duration of the incident was not available.
Protest in Jerusalem Saturday (Israel news photo: Flash 90).
Barkat reacted by saying that he will not surrender to violence. "Whoever thinks he will achieve anything through violence and thuggery is wrong," he stated.
The United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party in the Jerusalem municipality sharply criticized the attack on Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat by extremists on Sunday night. "Throwing stones isn’t the way of Torah," municipal council member Yossi Deutsch told Army Radio. He reiterated that the hareidi-religious attackers were a minority who didn’t represent the hareidi-religious community who seeks peaceful ways to resolve conflicts.
The attack was related to Barkat’s decision to open the Karta parking lot on Shabbat days. Hundreds of hareidis protested Saturday night against the initiative, as they have on every Saturday in recent weeks. In Shabbat Square they pelted an Egged bus with rocks. No one was hurt.
Barkat has reportedly received death threats following the decision to open the parking lot. Two e-mail messages with "veiled threats" arrived at the mayor’s offices. Security around him was tightened and the police were notified.