Dozens of students of the Vizhnitz-Merkaz yeshiva in Bnei Brak on Thursday night attacked police officers in a civilian car. The attackers surrounded the car, smashed its windows, and punctured its tires. The crowd tried to open the doors, while police officers sitting inside were desperately calling a rescue. One policewoman was injured in the incident.
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Clashes broke out in several hotspots in the city Following the attack on the police vehicle. Residents blocked roads and burned trash cans and tires.
Police blamed the rioting on extremist Haredim in Bnei Brak.
Following the mob attack on the car, armed and protected police raided yeshivas in the city and arrested six suspects. A police helicopter flew over the scene. Police threw stun grenades at rioters who burned tires and scattered trash cans.
A police source told Maariv Thursday night: “Once they go up a notch and throw stones at cops, we’ll also have to step up and the response will be tough.”
A second police source added: “We’re like in another country and this is the center of that country. Such unreasonable behavior, law enforcement officers being brutally attacked and such savage violence is crossing a red line that cannot be ignored.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the incident, posting on social media: “We will act with a heavy hand against the violators of the law, first and foremost against those who raised their hand against our police officers.”
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri said: “The severe violence tonight in Bnei Brak, of a few rioters against police officers who came as part of their job to enforce the lockdown, is severe and outrageous.”
A few rioters?
“The rioters must be stopped and acted against with all the severity of the law. We must follow the guidelines and save lives. It’s a life and death issue.”
The Bnei Brak municipality also condemned the incident, stating: “These acts are not the way of our city, do not reflect the feelings of the city’s rabbis and its hundreds of thousands of residents. This is a serious case of a group of boys who must be brought to justice.”