Many thousands from a spectrum of all communities in Bnei Brak took part in a tefillah rally Tuesday afternoon, to protest the disruption of tefillos in a beis knesses in Arad, and to express their pain over the anti-religious campaign that has deteriorated into a virtual war against Hashem’s Torah.
The atzeres, which was graced by the presence of many Rebbes, Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshivah, began with Minchah, followed by Tehillim recited by Harav Yishai Mandel, a Dayan in the Belz community.
Divrei chizuk were delivered by Harav Elimelech Biderman and Harav Daniel Zer. Harav Shalom Sebag led the kabalas ol Malchus Shamayim.
The mass protest comes in response to incitement against the chareidi community of Arad, where tefillos were disrupted at a beis knesses and where the municipality has spearheaded a campaign to drive chareidim out of the city.
The campaign in Arad against everything associated with Jewish observance has been spearheaded by local politicians, including the mayor of Arad, Nissan Ben Chamo, and his legal advisors; and with the open backing of Yesh Atid, whose banner has always been antireligious hatred.
They have been doing all in their power to stop chareidim from residing in the city of Arad. The mayor’s attempt to make good on his promise to fight the chareidim, which helped him get elected, has included an order to close more than 10 batei knesses in the city, including some that have been in use for decades, and an effort to drive chareidim out of the central beis knesses.
The municipality has petitioned the courts for closure of the batei knesses on the grounds that they supposedly pose a threat to public order. Similarly, it has sought to tear down the local eruv, discontinue the Erev Shabbos warning sirens, block allocations for chareidi schools, even when the Education Ministry sought to provide for the legitimate needs of the community as recognized by the law.
Until now, the chareidi community in Arad has tried to secure its rights quietly on the local level. But when dozens of thugs break into a Shabbos tefillah in the most brutal manner, with deliberate chillul Shabbos, such as activating their cellphones for the sole purpose of disrupting the tefillos and driving out the mispallelim, bolder measures are necessary.
This intolerable situation, the likes of which are not seen in other countries, prompted Gedolei Yisrael to call for mass rallies this week across Israel.