Litzman Charges Police Harassing Chareidim in Coronavirus Crackdown

YERUSHALAYIM -
Health Deputy Minister Yaakov Litzman attends a conference Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 

Housing Minister Rabbi Yaakov Litzman (UTJ) accused the police of “harassment” of the chareidi community under the guise of enforcing strict health regulations to stem the coronavirus.

Rabbi Litzman enlisted Public Security Minister Amir Ohana to seek clarification from the head of Yerushalayim police concerning an incident in which a 13-year-old chareidi girl was detained by police for failing to wear a mask and began to cry. Video of the footage was widely disseminated and caused a public outcry.

“You need to bring the police to account and to promise that we won’t experience behavior like this again in our neighborhoods,” Litzman said he told Ohana, who is himself currently in quarantine, in a message, according to The Times of Israel.

MK Ahmed Tibi of the Joint List took Rabbi Litzman’s side, asking, “Would they do this with a girl from north Tel Aviv. The same age, would the cops do this? No,” he says in the Knesset.

“The girl’s mother said she had removed the mask to take a sip from a drink, when the officer came over and started to write out a summons. She gave him her parents’ phone number and burst out crying,” a passerby, who offered to pay the 500 shekel fine himself, told Walla news.

Deputy Education Minister Meir Porush responded to the video, saying, “It’s a heartbreaking sight to see police looking to ticket a crying girl for not wearing a mask.

“I ask the public to produce such a photo of a police officer giving a ticket to a secular girl. This, apart from the fact that the Knesset approved imposing a NIS 500 fine, which is disproportionate and scandalous according to all opinions,” added Rabbi Porush.