The Edah HaChareidis rabbis who have lead the Jerusalem protests throughout the summer will Thursday issue new guidelines for their struggle against the opening of the municipal Karta parking garage on Saturdays, Haaretz has learned. While not calling for an end to the disputes, the rabbis are calling to avoid violence and damage to property.
The letter, set to be published Thursday, is the first step taken by the Edah HaChareidis rabbinical court, or Badatz, to rein in the violence - which reached new heights earlier this week. On Saturday, two drivers attempted to run over protesters who were blocking their path near the parking lot, while on early Wednesday morning several dozen young people attacked an Arab taxi driver.
The letter, titled "Declaration and Warning," states that "in protests for the dignity of heavens, and against those seeking to overrun the fortifications of religious wisdom, one must still conduct himself by Torah law and spirit, not to carry out acts of violence like stoning, burning and spitting or to cause any damage to any property." From now on, the rabbis command, the protests will only be held inside the ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods rather than by the parking garage itself. They also declared they were banning children and unmarried men from participating in the protests.
Despite the letter, disagreements with the ultra-Orthodox community continue. Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, the leader of Edah HaChareidis, was determined Wednesday not to accept the operation of the municipal garage during the Sabbath, and new leaflets and pashkavils announcing protests on the coming Saturday could be seen in the streets. It is also unclear what, if any, influence the rabbis have over the protesters, as many of the riots are sparked by young men not affiliated with the Edah HaChareidis and not followers of its rabbis. [...]