Haredim try breaking into restaurant selling chametz

Dozens protest against sale of leavened products on premises, evacuated by special police unit. 'I am the last Mohican. It's really a mission,' says restaurant owner

Ynet News, Israel/April 4, 2010

Some 70 ultra-Orthodox men demonstrated Sunday outside a Jerusalem hamburger chain, Iwo Burger, in protest against the sale of chametz during the Passover holiday. They also tried to break into the restaurant.

The protesters managed to block entry to employees and tear down signs before they were evacuated by police. They did not resist evacuation.

Chametz, or leavening products, are forbidden to Jews during the Passover holiday according to religious law. The hamburger restaurant is a regular site for haredi protests during Passover.

The protesters yelled out "Enough" in Yiddish and prayed at the restaurant's entrance. The restaurant's manager, Avi Ben-David, was unfazed. "I feel like the last Mohican in Jerusalem," he told Ynet.

According to him, "Business during Passover is excellent. We provide services on all days of the year, and customers come in droves and show their support. They tell us they appreciate the service. It really is a sense of being on a mission."

Ben-David insisted that there is a secular future in Jerusalem. "Fridays in the city are always bustling. There are events, young people and students. There is a very good vibe," he said.

One of the restaurant's employees told Ynet that the protesters arrived just minutes before the restaurant opened its doors for business.

"They ripped signs off the windows in the entrance to the restaurant and tried to break in. They stood in the entrance and did not let us move. Of course, it's not a good feeling, but we believe in what we are doing 100%. Truthfully, we are already used to them," he said.

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