Thursday, September 4, 2008

Secular war against Eruv/Vandalizing posts

YNET reports: (Excerpt)

Posts installed in Jerusalem marking Shabbat-friendly areas vandalized, making area ‘non-kosher’. Religious women unable to walk children in strollers, men unable to carry prayer books to synagogue

A religious war has been ensuing in Jerusalem for several months now over the placing of eruv posts (physical or symbolical fences around Jewish areas allowing children, parcels to be carried within its confines on Shabbat) in the city’s various neighborhoods. In the last three weeks, the situation has reached new levels, and every Shabbat a group of anonymous people arrive at the eruv posts and vandalize it by cutting its wires. The “Eruv HaMehudar Committee” (adorned eruv) filed a complaint on the issue at the Jerusalem police department. As part of an investigation which began, numerous suspects were summoned for interrogation but it seems that the issue is far from being solved.

In light of the events, an emergency meeting took place on Sunday with the participation of Jerusalem’s neighborhood rabbis at the offices of the eruv committee. At the meeting, the rabbis decided to call upon all the city’s inhabitants to refrain from relying on the large eruv surrounding the whole city which was installed by the religious council and from now on they should rely only on their neighborhood eruvs, if they exist.

In addition, it was decided that if the police do not apprehend the accused, an emphatic and wide-ranged struggle will be declared. The chairman of the eruv committee Rabbi David Eisenstein told Ynet that the significance of causing damage to the eruv’s wires is severe. “If a mother has small children, she can’t go out with her carriage.

“This is acute, she is in jail for the entire Shabbat. A person cannot go to the synagogue with a prayer book in hand or conduct a brit (circumcision) for their son at a hall during Shabbat because it is forbidden to carry anything,” said the rabbi. “This is a painful subject for the wide public of inhabitants. Whoever is doing this is stricken with blind hatred and this is unjustified,” he said.

In certain instances, the unknowns even ignited some of the posts. This eruv vandalization has occurred in numerous Jerusalem neighborhoods including Kiryat Menachem, Armon Hanatziv, Bayit VeGan, Givat Mordechai and Givat Shaul.

200 installed posts destroyed

The past two years have seen various disputes between the sides regarding installment of the eruv and three months ago the war was sparked anew. These altercations came after the eruv committee installed more than 200 posts withing a 32 kilometer (20 mile) range on the road leading to the city’s Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. In one of these instances, the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood’s local administration decided to saw off a number of posts placed on the neighborhood streets. When ultra-Orthodox inhabitants noticed what occurred, a riot ensued and in light of the confrontation which broke out between the sides, the police were called to the scene in an attempt to restore the calm. As of late, the eruv issue has taken a worrisome turn for the worse. Every Shabbat for the past three weeks, a group of unknowns arrive at the site and cut the eruv’s wires. This sabotage is caused to the eruv erected by the religious council, the haredi sector and the eruv committee alike.[...]

'We don’t want influx of haredim'

The source of the battles is the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood which is situated above the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital.
According to one of the area’s residents, the whole story began two years ago when haredim began placing eruv posts inside the neighborhoods in addition to those already placed by the religious council. This phenomenon, in his opinion, is very characteristic in haredi neighborhoods but bothersome to Kiryat Hayovel’s secular inhabitants.

“They began placing an eruv which cut the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood,” said Danny who prefers remaining anonymous in light of threats he has already received.“In many cases they used an existing fence or house entrances and started welding posts on them. Posts were definitely placed and ruined the view or were sidewalks; causing a real safety hazard.“We did not know who was installing these posts. They would come at odd hours and when the police were called, they would leave,” said Danny.

According to Danny, the basis for their opposition to placement of eruv posts is first and foremost the illegality of it all especially since the posts are not placed in accordance with neighborhood authorities or backed by necessary legal permits. “I can’t insert a post anywhere I want. You have to undergo an organized process and not every private body can do whatever they feel like doing,” he said.In addition the ultra-Orthodox character the neighborhood is getting with the placement of eruv posts is undesired by many inhabitants. In Danny’s estimation, “an eruv is definitely a haredi symbol and we don’t want an influx of haredim in southwest Jerusalem.

“It is not healthy for them or for us. The eruv equips the neighborhoods for haredim to a certain degree and this immixture with the ultra-Orthodox public only causes unnecessary friction.”


  1. What is misleading in this article is the fact that both daati leumi require an eruv in order to carry outside on shobbos.

    Another detail that is missing is if this is a new extention of the rabbinut eruv that surrounds the city or if it is a new more mehudar one for those who do not want to rely on the rabbinute eruv.

    Can anybody fill me in on what is going on here?

  2. From what I saw on the article, it's an extension of the existing eiruv. At first I thought it was another inter-religious fight - one group wanting an eiruv and another, which presumable doesn't, tearing it down to prevent "chilul Shabbos".
    But when I learned it was chilonim doing it, I thought back to the story of the frum family being chased out of the park.
    There's something psychological about the eiruv. In North America, when frum communities try to put one up, the non-religious and even non-Jewish communities protest against it. The eiruv seems to carry the impression to them that the frum people are marking "their domain" and that non-frum and non-Jewish people inside the eiruv will become second class citizens.
    A better PR job needs to be done to explain to people that this is not the case.

  3. Ironheart,

    Yes and No. The article notes how posts were installed in inappropriate places (middle of the sidewalk?) without authorization from the private property owners or the local municipality. It is expropriative and provocative.

    Install an Eruv post without permission, on public and most especially on someone else's private property, is certainly not a way to make friends.

  4. If it is installed without permission, how can the authority in charge grant sechiras reshus?

  5. Could we please be enlightened as to whether this is in fact a new "mehudar" eruv within an already established eruv, or merely an extension into an area without any existing eruv.

  6. snag said...

    "If it is installed without permission, how can the authority in charge grant sechiras reshus?"

    I thought that sechiras reshus had to do with aruvei chatzerot?


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