Hundreds of people in Bnei Brak protested the operation of the public transportation system on the Sabbath in the Gush Dan district and Tel Aviv by municipalities which began this weekend.
Since Friday night, at least 16 strictly Orthodox residents were arrested for blocking roads, violating public order and even hurling rocks at police officers.
In recent days there have been loudspeakers moving throughout the Orthodox neighborhoods calling for protests.
An ad calling for demonstrations that was posted on boards around Bnei Brak reads: “In response to the continued blasphemy of the Sabbath in the first instance of its kind, this is the fourth Sabbath desecration in the cities of Gush Dan, in the operation of public transportation on the Sabbath. Our holy Sabbath is not forfeit!” At the bottom of the poster, organizers added: “Shout the cry of the Sabbath! A victim fallen, dead, she was killed!!!”
Police emphasized in a statement that no breach of order will be tolerated: “The Israel Police will act resolutely against violent incidents of any kind whatsoever.”
The issue is one that has been debated for years, with secular Jews openly hostile towards religious Jews over the restrictions they encounter on the Sabbath, which they blame on their observant fellow citizens, despite the fact that these compromises between the secular and religious populations were negotiated decades ago in the Israeli coalition government system.