JERUSALEM ( VINnews) — In one of the worst demonstrations of the tensions and split within the Gur chasidic sect, violent clashes occurred on Friday night between the two rival factions, forcing police to intervene to maintain public order. The clashes broke out after a loudspeaker was used to criticize the Gerer Rebbe when he visited a cemetery in Tel Aviv Friday. The loudspeaker incident incensed his chasidim, who had also received a pamphlet in recent days criticizing the Rebbe’s behavior towards Rav Shaul’s faction.
At the height of the tensions, armed police were brought into the shul of Rabbi Shaul Alter to accompany him to his home due to the threats against him. Police used mounted police and water cannon to try and restore public order after chasidim damaged cars, threw objects and attacked one another. Eyewitnesses said that the riots were “the worst Jerusalem has seen in years.” Two policemen were injured and taken to hospital for treatment.
Members of Rav Shaul’s community said that hundreds of members of the mainstream Gur chasidim attacked them on Friday night, causing significant damage to the Beis Midrash and even forcing Rav Shaul Alter to remain barricaded in the building until police came to escort him home.
שבת של אלימות ועימותים בין חסידי גור לאנשי קהילת הגר"ש אלתר. בירושלים, אשדוד ובבני ברק התגוששו הצדדים במשך שעות ארוכות שכללו גרימת נזק לרכוש, מכות ומהומות. בי"ם חילצה המשטרה את הגר"ש אלתר מבניין בית המדרש בליווי כוחות יס"מ.
הרקע: כרוז שהופעל נגד האדמו"ר מגור ששהה בבית קברות בת"א. pic.twitter.com/tq3CJKQYWw
— שימי שפר (@Shimishafer) May 21, 2022
The violence and clashes continued after Shabbos and spread to other Gur venues. In Ashdod cars were damaged, tires slashed and a Gur shul affiliated with Rav Shaul also suffered damage. A Mezuza was even removed from one of the yeshivas of Rav Shaul’s chasidim.
Police worked to restore order on Bar Ilan and Yirmiyahu streets where members of both factions continued to clash Saturday night. Armed guards continued to be present outside the home of Rabbi Shaul on Elkana street.
Hundreds of chareidim who are not affiliated with Gur protested the desecration of Shabbos and the attacks on Rav Shaul’s chasidim. The demonstrators blocked buses and prevented mainstream chasidim from returning home.
תופעה מדהימה בירושלים: כבר שעות שמאות חרדים חסידים, ליטאים וספרדים מגינים בגופם וחוסמים את התוקפים חסידי גור pic.twitter.com/Z4X2Pr768L
— אלי ביתאן (@Eli_Bitan) May 21, 2022