During Monday’s meeting of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Committee Chairman MK Yakov Asher (UTJ) addressed the riots in Bnei Brak that protest the government’s coronavirus measures, saying, “What we have seen in recent days is not Bnei Brak, this is not the character of its residents.”
MK Asher is the former mayor of Bnei Brak. He explained that “there are marginal groups here that are tarnishing the name of this great and important city, whose absolute majority of inhabitants are upstanding people, observant of Torah and mitzvot and observant of law and order.”
“A pressure cooker has been created here that also comes, to my regret, from media pressure that constantly puts us – the Haredim – in the headlines, and a certain group that sees this is trying to make its mark, whether these are groups that want to stir the city or youth groups and fringe groups who do not even live in the city,” Chairman Asher said.
He added: “I call on the police not to turn all of Bnei Brak into a battlefield. We must work with logic, moderation, and common sense and deal with specific violations. Bnei Brak has become a battlefield of explosions at night, the likes of which I cannot recall.”
“For many years the relationship between the municipality, the public leaders, and the police was a model of cooperation,” he said, noting: “During my tenure, I established a police station in the heart of Bnei Brak, and we knew how to argue and cooperate. We need to convene a joint meeting with the municipality today and return Bnei Brak to its glory.”
Referring to allegations of violations of the coronavirus restrictions, Asher said: “Of all the incidents from Thursday to date, none of them were related to the violations. There has been no confrontation within a yeshiva or school. The city is [entirely closed up]. Yesterday there was a demonstration by a certain faction about something that happened in Ashdod, and curious spectators came, and from there we saw a policeman who shot a bullet in the air. This is incomprehensible.”
“It is outrageous for 400 border police to enter the city to look for four teenagers. There are more sophisticated and precise ways to locate suspects. I do not want to ‘settle an account’ from the past but to look ahead. I am certain that the municipality wants to work with the police and that life can return to normal,” the chairman said.