Israeli media is reporting that riots have broken out in Arab as well as some Jewish neighborhoods of Israel over quarantine enforcement. Particularly violent clashes in Jaffa also erupted after police confronted and tried to detain a man for reportedly breaking quarantine.
"Dozens of people are demonstrating and rioting in Jaffa after police questioning of a man who apparently broke his mandatory self-quarantine led numerous residents to gather and confront the officers," the Times of Israel reports. "Protesters are clashing with police, burning tires and blocking roads."
לא רמאללה,יפו!! pic.twitter.com/Uwk7HeQ5Cu— dudi d💟lev (@dudid2428) April 1, 2020
At least four have been arrested so far, while confrontations with Israeli police have been filmed in other parts of Israel as well, over a week after Tel Aviv imposed some of the strictest quarantine measures the world has yet seen, which authorizes police to physically enforce court-ordered isolation of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
"Not Ramallah, Jaffa!! (in Hebrew Yafo) — the above video of the rare Wednesday clashes is captioned.
Large Police forces have arrived to disperse the riots in Yafo which started after the arrest of a man who refused to identify in routine Health Ministry checks. pic.twitter.com/gz2zwjYZ6W— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 1, 2020
Typically such scenes have more commonly played out in occupied Arab West Bank neighborhoods, but increasingly it's also Israel's ultra-Orthodox community which has tended to defy and flaunt national quarantine and self-isolation policies.
Police arrested 4 during the riots in Yafo which started when Police questioned a man for being outside for a non critical reason and he refused to identify. pic.twitter.com/NS1UASjnIG— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 1, 2020
Police have in some cases moved to seal synagogues which ignored orders and stayed open, issuing fines to worshipers.
י-ם: כוחות גדולים של משטרה ויס"מ— dudi d💟lev (@dudid2428) March 31, 2020
פשטו כעת על שטיבלך זיכרון משה
ברחוב חפץ חיים.
עימותים ומעצרים במקום pic.twitter.com/v5hAW7quRp
The Jerusalem Post reports the outbreak is set to get worse:
Israel’s total number of cases is “going up in a steady way, and that is not so good,” Tal Brosh, head of infectious disease at Assuta Ashdod Medical Center, told The Jerusalem Post. “But that is also because the number of tests being done is increasing.”
“My concern now is the haredim” who are not practicing social distancing, which could lead to a spike in cases “very quickly,” he said. “If Bnei Brak residents do not stop gathering at weddings, prayers, mikvaot… we could see a surge within a few weeks.”
Conservative neighborhoods have come to view police quarantine enforcement as a severe violation of religious freedom.
Riots in Yafo after policeman arrested a number of people for violating Health Ministry restrictions. pic.twitter.com/bo8El8tEtZ— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 1, 2020
There are increasing instances of rabbis and synagogues defying orders to conduct services across the country such as the following, according to The Jerusalem Post:
Israel Police arrested six suspects belonging to the Peleg HaYerushalmi after they were found gathering in a synagogue in the Haredi city of Modi'in Illit, violating Health Ministry instructions issued to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
The suspects refused to listen to police instructions to leave and refused to identify themselves and began clashing with police.
This is not going well... Protests & burning of tires in Jaffa/Yafa after a resident was fined a #Covid19 Quarantine violation.— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) April 1, 2020
Fine by Israeli authorities can go up to $1,380: pic.twitter.com/PqgAcV6u35
The below video is from the Orthodox stronghold of Beit Shemesh, located 19 milies west of Jerusalem, during clashes with police:
Disgusting behavior: Ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem coughing on Policemen and calling them Nazis. pic.twitter.com/k15UQQusU8— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 1, 2020
A number of local outbreaks in Israeli cities have been traced to crowded and in some cases still-operating synagogues.
Towns close to more ultra-conservative neighborhoods have increasingly petitioned state authorities to crack down:
Ramat Gan Mayor Carmel Shama-Hacohen has written a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government officials demanding a general closure on the neighboring city of Bnei Brak, which has become one of the main coronavirus hotspots in the country.
Police arrested a number of people in Yafa an-Naseriyye— Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian (@manniefabian) April 1, 2020
after they attacked Policemen when they were asked to disperse a gathering which violated the Health Ministry restrictions. pic.twitter.com/IMegFgfDIQ
Nationwide Israel is fast approaching 6,000 cases, among these 25 deaths, with numbers expected to climb much higher in the days ahead due to expanded testing.