MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism) called to an emergency Knesset session Religious Affairs Minister David Azoulai to discuss the impending demolition of an eruv in the southern city of Arad. A key portion of the eruv will be dismantled, the result of a demolition order issued by the city, unless a solution is found.
In the discussion MK Rabbi Eichler asked what authority the mayor of Arad, Nissan Ben-Chamo, had to order the demolition of the eruv that was set up by the local religious council. According to the mayor, the structure of the eruv on Road 31, a main highway passing next to Arad, “endangers drivers” by distracting their attention. Rabbi Eichler stressed in his question that “we are talking here about two metal barrels, some poles and some string.”
In response, Azoulai said that he was aware of the matter and that his office was working on a solution. “I have ordered that this matter be dealt with immediately, before this Shabbos, so that there will not be an issue for people in the city.” Whether that solution entails overriding the demolition order is a different matter. “That is a question for the Justice Minister,” Azoulai said.
Commenting on the issue, Health Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman said during the discussion that the order was aimed specifically at damaging the lifestyle of observant and chareidi residents of Arad. “The mayor knows very well what an eruv is and what dismantling part of it means to the religious public.” Community leaders in Arad said that the eruv controversy was just the latest attack on chareidim in the city.